Single Women, First Timers Take Bait

Renters, particularly single women, are taking the bait and buying their first home. Reel us in, housing market! We're ready to move in and redecorate.

The "bait," of course, is the large number of homes on the market at increasingly reduced prices. The U.S. housing market sold a bigger share of homes to first-time buyers and single women this year, shows a new homebuyer survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors.

Record affordability as sellers drop prices means that the market continues to favor buyers. New tax incentives - up to $8,000 for first timers - sweetens the pot further. Sellers have gone the extra mile to sell their homes, with 52 percent of them offering incentives such as lowered prices and paying for closing costs. The average home sold for 95 percent of its original sales price.

The survey shows a median age of 30 and median income of $61,600 among first time buyers. The typical first-time buyer paid $156,000 for their home, about $9,000 less than the Realtors' 2008 survey.

But don't cry for the sellers. They still managed to earn a median of $36,000 over their original purchase price.

Congress is spreading the love with the tax credit extension. It recently extended the tax incentive through next June, as long as the buyer signs a binding contract by the end of April 2010. Homeowners who have lived in their house for five or more years are also eligible for a $6,500 credit toward purchase of a second home or investment property.

So ladies (and gentlemen), let's go shopping.
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