First-time homebuyers reign supreme in Massachusetts

by Timothy Inklebarger

Rising home prices and low inventory aren’t keeping first-time homebuyers at bay in the Bay State, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR).

The association notes in the 2019 Massachusetts Profile of Home Buyers report, produced by National Association of Realtors on behalf of MAR, that first-time homebuyers in Massachusetts represented the majority of buyers in the state for the second year in a row.

In 2019, first-time homebuyers represented 45 percent of the homes purchase in Massachusetts, outpacing the national average of 33 percent, according to MAR.

“Our state is in demand,” said 2020 MAR President Kurt Thompson, broker at Keller Williams Realty. “This is a trend we want and need to continue, but we still need more homes for sale to ensure that first-time homebuyers of all income levels have the same opportunity to live here.”

Massachusetts homebuyers also purchased through a real estate agent more often (93 percent) than the national average of 89 percent.

On the seller side, 94 percent of Massachusetts sellers worked with a real estate professional, compared to 91 percent nationally. Eleven percent of those sellers had to delay the sale because the value of the home was worth less than the mortgage. That’s higher than the national average of 8 percent.

Only 5 percent of sellers sold their home without the assistance of an agent, slightly below the national average of 7 percent, according to the report.

The demographic of homebuyers in Massachusetts also shifted in 2019, with the average income increasing to $119,600 in 2019 from $106,900 the previous year. The median income for buyers nationally was $93,200.

Buyers were much younger in Massachusetts (32 years old) versus the national average of 47 years old.

Marital status of homebuyers in Massachusetts in 2019 tracked closely with the national average, with 61 percent married couples in the Bay State, 11 percent unmarried couples, 15 single women and 10 percent single men. Nationally, 61 percent were married, 9 percent were unmarried, 17 percent were single women and 9 percent were single men.

The satisfaction level of selling a home dipped in 2019, with 63 percent of sellers saying they were satisfied with the experience, compared to 68 percent the previous year.

“In theory selling a home in this market is easy because of the high demand,” Thompson said. “However, when you combined that with sellers’ growing concern of not being able to find a home to buy after they sell, their satisfaction with the process suffers. The solution is making it easier to produce more housing.”

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