Fewest first-time homebuyers in nearly three decades

Realtors study blames high prices, tight lending for fall in first-time homebuying.

First-time homebuyers aren’t buying homes like they used to.

The share of houses bought by first-time owners is at its lowest level in nearly two decades and down sharply just from 2013, according to a new survey out Monday from the National Assn. of Realtors.

Just 33% of home purchases this year have been by first-time buyers, the trade group said, down from 38% last year and well below the long-term average of 40%, the trade group said.

Would-be buyers are struggling with higher prices, tight lending procedures and a still-unsteady job market, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. Their absence, however, is slowing down the overall recovery. NAR is predicting home sales will fall this year for the first time since 2010.

Federal regulators have begun easing some lending guidelines, hoping to encourage banks to make more loans and draw more first-time buyers back into the market. Meanwhile the stronger economy has some economists forecasting more growth in sales next year.

Keep an eye on housing and real estate in Southern California. Follow me on Twitter at @bytimlogan

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