Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City One of Best First-Time Home Buyer Markets

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City One of Best First-Time Home Buyer Markets

Article excerpt

The first-time home buyers' market in Oklahoma City is one of the best in the nation, according to Judy Davis, president of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Board of Realtors.

"It's wonderful," said Davis. "They're probably the luckiest first-time buyers, because of the combination of low prices and low interest rates.

"They have the most likely chance of getting into the home ownership market than in any other part of the country," Davis said.

According to data from Century 21 Real Estate Corp. in Irvine, Calif., first-time buyers comprised 31 percent of the home purchasing market in Oklahoma in 1988. That market share was also 31 percent in 1987, 32 percent in 1986 and 29 percent in 1985.

The percentages are based on Century 21 sales, not the entire home sales industry.

"The profile of the average first-time buyer is certainly changing," said Monte Helme, Century 21's vice-president of public information.

"Spot surveys of our brokers indicate the average first-time buyer is a few years older, buying a smaller house or purchasing a townhouse or condominium instead of a single family home," Helme said at the 1989 spring seminar of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

Davis said older average first-time buyers in Oklahoma have a large share of the market, as do young married couples.

"There seems to be a general perception," Helme said, "that rising prices and interest rates have squeezed the first-time buyer out of the real estate market. We see no direct correlation between interest rates, home prices and the activity level of first-time buyers during the last five years.

"Each local market is different, but in a vast majority of the country, the first-time buyer is alive and buying. . .

"Rising home prices and higher mortgage interest rates have not significantly reduced the percentage of first-time home buyers," said Helme.

"The national percentage of first-time buyers has remained steady at approximately 40 percent for this period, based on more than 150,000 sales per year to first-time buyers by the Century 21 system.

"It is a myth that the first-time buyer is out of the market. …

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