The Evolution of the First-Time Homebuyer in San Diego


First Time San Diego Home Buyers

As anyone who’s ever touched down at Lindbergh Field can attest, San Diego is a fine place to land. From the moment you leave the airport, you’re greeted with a picturesque expanse of bay, along with blue skies, palm-tree lined walking paths, boats bobbing in the harbor, the skyscrapers (next to charming historic districts), the imposing aircraft carriers, and the expanse of the Coronado Bridge.

It’s a dramatic welcome to a county where many people are choosing to plant their roots and call it home. And those first time home buyers are evolving in San Diego County, just as in the rest of the country.

For the last 33 years, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has conducted annual research on home-buying trends and published its findings in the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Here are the findings about first time homebuyers:

The 2013 report shows that, since 1981, the long-term average indicates four of 10 purchases are made by first time home buyers. First-time home buyers accounted for 38 percent of the market in 2013, down just one percentage point from the previous year. (The median age of first-time home buyers was 31, just as in 2012; and among those under 32, 79 percent of homebuyers were first-time purchasers. )

The 2013 profile also quotes Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, as stressing that, “The share of first-time buyers appears to be only modestly below normal, but we have to keep in mind that investors have been more active in recent years, and they’re not included in these results. Historically, first-time buyers are instrumental in housing recoveries because they help existing home owners sell and make a trade.”

So who are today’s first-time homebuyers?

Overall, according to the California Association of Realtors, they’re often female (61 percent), minority (66 percent), and married (52 percent). First-time home buyers are now likely do months of research on their own before getting in touch with their agent, and are likely to use technology throughout the process, from researching their agent online (74 percent of them will Google the agent first) to chasing down listings on their smartphones.

Fully 97 percent of first-time home buyers are also dependent on financing to make their dream of home ownership a reality. As interest rates are low, now is an ideal time to gain entry into the market and invest in a new home in San Diego County.