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First-Time Buyers Take Larger Share of Home Sales in March

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First-time homebuyers made up a record high share of sales in March, according to the latest Campbell Surveys poll of more than 1,500 real estate agents nationwide. Of all home purchases in the month, first-time homebuyers accounted for 48.2%. The new monthly record eclipsed the previous peak of 46.9% last October when the expected November expiration of the original homebuyer tax credit drove up the share of first-time homebuyers. The March uptick comes ahead of the extended tax credit deadline. “The strong participation of first-time homebuyers this spring is a welcome surprise,” said Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys. “Many observers had felt that the pool of first time homebuyers had been depleted last fall, but this is turning out not to be the case. Instead, the normal spring-summer buying season is combining with the tax credit to produce blow-out results for first-time homebuyers.” The surge in first-time homebuyer activity in March came at the same time the volume of distressed properties in the housing market climbed to more than 50%, according to the survey. The latest survey found that short sales accounted for 18.6% of the housing market in March. “None of the survey results take into account the new Home Affordable Foreclosures Alternative (HAFA) program for short sales,” Popik said. “This government program took effect in early April, so we expect short sales to account for an even greater proportion of the real estate market in coming months.” Write to Diana Golobay.

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