If the plans of home shoppers on realtor.com® bear fruit, 52% will be buying their first home in 2017—a huge shift upward from a mere 33% in 2016. Could you be one of them this year, finally settling into a place that’s all yours?

With the spring buying season well underway—real estate sales ramp up in spring and summer—we thought we’d trot out some fun and fascinating “who knew?” numbers about first-time home buyers, so you can see how you fit in. Are you ahead of the home buyer curve, or lagging behind? Assess yourself below.

How much does a ‘starter home’ cost these days?

The median price of a buyer’s first home is $182,500. That’s lower than the median home price for all buyers ($260,000). They don’t call it a “starter home” for nothing!

How old are first-time home buyers?

The median age of a first-time home buyer is 32. And once you’re settled in, plan to stay for a while: Data from the National Association of Realtors® indicate that the median age of repeat buyers is 52.

What income do you need to buy your first home?

The NAR has found that the median household income for first-time home buyers is $72,000 a year.

Are home buyers waiting to get married first?

Nope. Only 58% of first-time home buyers are hitched. A surprising 14% are unmarried couples, 18% are single women, and 8% are bachelors.

Do they have kids yet?

By and large no. Sixty percent of first-time buyers purchase property without tykes in tow. Nineteen percent have one child, 15% have two, and 5% have three or more children.

What place are these buyers leaving behind?

Seventy-four percent of first-time buyers were renting before they bought; 21% were living with their parents; 4% were living in a home they’d inherited but not purchased; and 1% bought the home they were renting.

How are they scraping together the money?

While personal savings were the top source for funds, 24% of first-time buyers got a little down payment help in the form of a gift from a friend or family member. Thirty-three percent of first-time buyers took out a Federal Housing Administration mortgage, which has lower down payment requirements than a conventional loan.

What are they buying?

Eight-two percent of first-time buyers purchase a “traditional” house—meaning a standalone for a single family. However, 9% got townhouses and 3% got condos, both of which are attached to other residences and often found in more densely populated areas.

So why buy a home now?

Based on realtor.com’s survey respondents, buyers begin their house hunt for a variety of reasons. The biggie: 26% are just plain tired of their current digs; 17% are motivated by favorable home prices; and 16% cite changes in family circumstances like the arrival of a child.

However you stack up in this grand scheme of things, if you’re eager to learn more, you can check out our First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide.


Judy Dutton is a senior editor at realtor.com covering news and advice about home buying, selling, decorating, and everything in between (judy.dutton@move.com).

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