In the past 10 years, an average of 1.5 million bought their first home every year, down from the historical average of 1.8 million a year.
CNN Money points out that the difference between the figures comes out to three million people in total who haven’t been able to buy a home over the last decade. Many of these potential buyers have been shut out due to low inventory and rising home prices.
First-time buyers make an enormous impact on the market. They purchase smaller entry-level homes, which allows current homeowners to trade up for bigger, more expensive homes. Plus, they represent the shift of housing demand from renting to owning.
But it looks like first-timers are coming back to the market. From 2014-2016, first-time buyers accounted for 85% of the housing market's expansion, according to the report. In 2016, there were two million first-time buyers, a 15% increase from the year before.