Buying your first home is a traditional rite of passage. Years ago, couples (yes, COUPLES) bought homes soon after they married and they raised their families in those homes.
During the boom housing years, that changed a bit. Increasingly younger people — both singles and couples — bought condominiums, townhouses and smaller single-family homes in order to get a foot in the market and build equity. No one worried about living there long-term. They bought with the intention of selling in two or three years, expecting to make some money on booming property values. Then, they would invest in a larger home and either settle down or, maybe, repeat the process.
Today, post-boom, first-time buyers are older, according to local homebuilders. Whereas during the boom, initial buyers might have been 23 or 24, today, the average first-time buyer is more in the 28 to 30 age range or older, said Nate Amidon, director of sales for William Ryan Homes.
“Home equity is not compounding at the rate it was during the boom, so young buyers are no longer viewing the purchase of a home as a moneymaking venture. Consequently, they are choosing not to be tied down to one location or one home until they are ready to start a family, in most cases,” he said.
The fact that first-time buyers are now generally older actually blurs the lines with regard to what such a buyer purchases. Many who have high-paying jobs and have been saving money for a number of years are able to hop over the traditional starter home into a house that would have been considered a home for the move-up buyer a decade ago.
At West Point Gardens in Elgin, Pat Curran, president of West Point Builders, has been noticing first-time buyers purchasing homes in three different series — the Park Series detached townhouses and the Classic and Heritage single-family homes.