Where Did the Repeat Buyers Go?

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A recent study finds that moving up is too expensive for middle-class homeowners.

September 27, 2016

While much of the demand for new home construction has been driven by wealthy move-up and move-down buyers in upscale markets, a recent study finds that moving up is too expensive for middle-class homeowners.

A report from the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute, a Washington, D. C. think tank, looked at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Federal Housing Administration-backed loans from 2001 through 2015. It found that there were about half as many second, third, and even fourth-time buyers last year as there were in 2001. 

In 2001, there were 1.8 million repeat buyers. That number fell to 630,000 in 2011 and stood at 931,000 second-time buyers in 2015. One possible culprit for the drop is that many homeowners lost equity during the housing bubble burst in 2007 and couldn’t produce a down payment to buy a bigger and better house or move to a new community. Tighter credit is cited as another factor.

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