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Typical 1st-Time Buyer Saves for 3.2 Years

Did you know it took the average Orange County first-time home buyer 3.2 years to save up enough money for a down payment? Or that home buyers looked at an average of 12 homes before making a purchase here last year, about three less than they had in previous years?

Interesting factoids like these can be gleaned from “Who’s Buying Homes in America,” Chicago Title and Trust Co.'s annual survey of home buyers in major metropolitan markets. In Orange County, the survey found, more middle- and high-income earners are moving up to larger homes. Of those buying a home last year, 63% had previously owned a home, compared with 53% in 1995.

The average selling price went up, too, an indication that more homes were being bought on the top end. The average price paid for all homes increased 6.3%, to $238,300 from $224,100 in 1995. The average monthly payment edged up 2.6%, to $1,340 from $1,306. These payments also are taking a larger percentage out of people’s pockets. Housing costs as a percentage of after-tax income increased to an average 35.9% in 1996 from 34.4% in 1995.

Melinda Fulmer covers real estate for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7832.

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