Press Release: March 25, 2013

 

 

First-Time Homebuyers Show Renewed Interest in Housing
Market, New HousingPulse Survey Results Show

 

WASHINGTON, DC (March 25, 2013) – First-time homebuyers, worried about rising mortgage interest rates and climbing home prices, are returning to the housing market in early 2013.

According to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey results, first-time homebuyers accounted for 34.5% of home purchase transactions in February based on a three-month moving average. That was the second monthly increase for first-time homebuyers, whose share of the housing market hit a four-year survey low of 32.9% in December.

Even more encouraging was a surge in first-time homebuyer traffic in February. The HousingPulse Homebuyer Traffic Diffusion Index for first-time homebuyers, an indicator of future home purchases, hit a four-year survey high of 66.4% in February. Any score above 50% with the index reflects an increase in home shopping traffic.

“First-time homebuyers are the wildcard in the upcoming spring-summer homebuying season,” said Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys. “We see strong first-time homebuyer traffic, but it’s still not clear that the traffic will translate into increased purchases, because first-time homebuyers are dependent on low-downpayment financing, such as FHA mortgages, and announced FHA program changes will take effect this spring.”

In the April to June timeframe, FHA will be increasing its Monthly Insurance Premium and require payment of the MIP for the full term of the loan.

While first-time homebuyers represented the fastest growing category of home purchasers between January and February, current homeowners saw the biggest drop in market share during the one-month period – falling from 44.3% to 42.5%. That was the lowest market share for current homeowners recorded by the HousingPulse survey since last June.

But current homeowners appear poised to increase their home purchase activity in the spring buying season. The HousingPulse Homebuyer Traffic Diffusion Index for current homeowners jumped from just 52.7% in December to 66.4% in February. Last month’s score was a four-year survey high for current homeowners.

Investor interest in the housing market also remains strong, according to the latest HousingPulse results. The investor share of home purchases rose to a four-month high of 34.5% in February. And the HousingPulse Homebuyer Traffic Diffusion Index for investors rose from 68.6% in January to 70.7% in February.

The increase in investor activity has been accompanied by a rise in sales of distressed properties. The HousingPulse Distressed Property Index, which measures the share of home purchases involving foreclosed properties or short sales, reached a four-month high of 36.2% in February.

The Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey involves approximately 2,000 real estate agents nationwide each month and provides up-to-date intelligence on home sales and mortgage usage patterns.

For more information on the survey, contact John Campbell at Campbell Surveys at (202) 363-2069 or jcampbell@housingpulse.com

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3/25/2013