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First-timers worry about jobs, credit
March 27th, 2009 2:09 PM

First-timers worry about jobs, credit

Century 21 survey: Buyers see homes as affordable

Inman News

Most prospective first-time homebuyers know interest rates are low and believe that homes are affordable. But nearly half don't know about the $8,000 tax credit available to first-time homebuyers through the end of November, and three in four say it's hard to get a loan.

Those are some of the key findings of a survey of 1,000 prospective first-time homebuyers conducted in early March for Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

Only people who said they were likely to buy a first home in the next two years were included in the survey, with about one in four saying they planned to purchase in the next six months.

While 42 percent of those surveyed said they'd be comfortable buying a home in the current market, 48 percent said they are waiting for prices to go down further.

Among renters, 91 percent said they would be likely to buy a home in the next six months if they found an acceptable home with monthly mortgage payments within $250 of their current rent.

About 85 percent of all of those surveyed said they consider current home prices to be affordable, and 68 percent think now is a better time to buy than six months ago.

Among those looking to buy in the next six months, 69 percent said they were worried about home prices rising if they didn't act soon.

But three out of four potential first-time homebuyers think it's difficult to get a loan, and only 41 percent were aware of a first-time homebuyer tax credit that's available through the end of November.

The credit -- equal to 10 percent of the purchase price up to a cap of $8,000 -- is available to anyone who meets income eligibility limits and hasn't owned a primary residence in the last three years.

Whether they'd heard about the credit or not before being surveyed, 77 percent said it would make them more likely to buy a home in the next six months.

Interest rates on loans eligible for purchase or guarantee by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have hit historic lows, although borrowers seeking loans too large or risky for Fannie and Freddie may pay higher rates (see story).

While only 62 percent of those surveyed said they think mortgage rates are lower than a year ago, 72 percent said rates are affordable or very affordable.

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Posted by Roch Lemieux, III on March 27th, 2009 2:09 PMPost a Comment



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