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The MReport Webcast: Wednesday 1/21/2015

Researchers at the American Enterprise Institute's International Center on Housing Risk estimated that Americans buying their first home made up about 50 percent of December's purchase mortgage market, up slightly from November. The results are a far cry from the monthly numbers put out by the National Association of Realtors, which for November estimated that first-time buyers were at a 31 percent market share. The AEI group says that their data, which draws from a pool of millions of loans, is more representative than the NAR's smaller survey.

Looking only at home purchase mortgages with a government guarantee, AEI researchers say the first-time buyer share is close to 55 percent, a slight increase over November. Going by agency, the Federal Housing Administration continued to attract large numbers of first-timers, posting a first-time buyer share above 80 percent. That was followed in order by Rural Housing Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

The National Association of Home Builders’ index of builder confidence dropped to 57 in January from a prior reading of 58, according to a report from the group. The slight decline reflected a decrease in optimism for home sales in the coming months as prospective buyer traffic decreased. Even with the drop, January marked the seventh straight month in which the index came in at a reading at or above 50, the benchmark between a market largely viewed as good and one viewed as bad.

About Author: Jordan Funderburk

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