Borrowers are younger and are purchasing less-expensive homes as the November deadline approaches for first-time buyers to qualify for this year's federal tax credit, according to a report by FBC Mortgage.
"Overall, the market seems to be improving, and we expect activity in the first-time buyer market to increase as the tax-credit deadline in November is fast approaching," said Ron Nunziata, FBC's president.
Earlier this year, the average age for home-loan borrowers was 46, but it dropped to 43 in June and to 38 in July. Other trends in the July report include an increase in government loans vs. conventional mortgages, and a decline in the proportion of refinances as activity picks up with primary mortgages. Down payments have hovered in the $40,000-to-$50,000 range in recent months, while purchase prices have been about $180,000.
Because of tougher underwriting guidelines, average credit scores have been above 720 during the past two quarters — their highest point in more than three years, Nunziata said.