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More than 80 percent of first-time home buyers believe now is a good time to buy a home

Century 21 Real Estate LLC, the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization, today announced the results of its First-Time Home Buyers and Sellers Survey, which captured and compared the opinions of prospective home buyers and sellers who either purchased or sold their first home within the past year or are planning to buy or sell their first home within the next year.

More than 80 percent of first-time home buyers and sellers feel the current housing market is more affordable today than this time last year, despite the fact that 40 percent of all respondents are more worried about the economy compared to this time last year.

While the attractive combination of home prices, mortgage rates and tax credits appeal to both buyers and sellers, market conditions continue to favor buyers. However, first-time home buyers anticipate home prices will soon begin to rise and in fact, about half of first-time buyers (48 percent) expect an increase by this time next year, thereby reestablishing the balance between buyers and sellers.

“Today’s market presents a generational opportunity for home buyers and current home owners looking to leverage their market position,” said Rick Davidson, president and CEO, Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “If you are considering buying or selling a home, talk to a real estate professional who can help you to navigate the specifics of your local market.”

Sixty (60) percent of first-time home buyers do not feel they have a good handle on the real estate process. Given the complexity and opportunity of today’s real estate market, 85 percent of both first-time buyers and sellers feel that using a real estate professional is important. The top three skills valued in realtors by both buyers and sellers are knowledge of the area, trustworthiness and responsiveness.

“Buying a home, while an emotional process, is the single greatest financial decision that most people will make in their lifetime,” counsels Davidson. “By providing real-time, ‘feet on the street’ local market intelligence, CENTURY 21 agents take the guesswork out of the process and provide the expertise necessary to help home buyers and sellers make smart decisions.”

The majority of the CENTURY 21 survey respondents have moved or intend to move more than 10 miles but less than 50 miles from their previous location, indicating current market conditions may be a catalyst for buying or selling homes, as opposed to a desire to dramatically change geographic location or relocate for a job.

Home Price Effects on First-Time Buyers and Sellers

  • More than 80 percent of buyers believe now is a good time to buy a home.
  • First-time home buyers rated the three most influential factors in their decision to enter the market and buy a home as current housing prices (66 percent), followed closely by both the home buyer tax credit (63 percent) and low interest rates (60 percent).
  • Finding a home within a buyer’s price range is extremely important (95 percent), as is a neighborhood’s safety (90 percent).
  • The top two factors influencing the first-timers’ decision to sell their homes were personal/family reasons and current housing prices – both of which were cited as motivating factors by 48 percent of first-time sellers.
  • Most likely due to their experience, approximately half of first-time sellers (54 percent) think home prices are more affordable now than compared to this time last year.
  • In fact, the current home prices have influenced 50 percent of sellers to “move up” and 37 percent to change neighborhoods.
  • Sellers are mainly concerned about losing money on the sale of their home and receiving offers near their asking price.
  • Approximately half of all first-time home buyers (48 percent) and sellers (53 percent) anticipate housing prices will increase over the next year.

Low Mortgage Rates But How Accessible Are They?

  • The majority of first-time buyers (79 percent) and sellers (86 percent) believe mortgage rates are either somewhat or very affordable right now. Again, due to their experience, sellers are more likely than buyers to find the current rates very affordable (35 percent of sellers vs. 21 percent of buyers).
  • The low interest rates have influenced 46 percent of owners to sell their home for “move up” reasons and another 43 percent to change neighborhoods.
  • Most respondents feel that getting a mortgage today is either somewhat difficult or very difficult (87 percent of first-time buyers and 82 percent of first-time sellers). Because many may be going through the process currently, buyers were significantly more likely than sellers to find the process very difficult vs. not difficult at all.Tax Credit Awareness and Eligibility
  • Eighty-four (84) percent of first-time buyers are aware of the first-time home buyer tax credit and 64 percent of those who state they are in the market for their first home say they qualify for this credit.
  • On the first-time seller side, an equal 84 percent are aware of the move-up/repeat home buyer tax credit yet only 33 percent say they qualify for this credit.

Methodology
MarketTools, Inc. conducted a quantitative survey on behalf of Century 21 Real Estate LLC with 708 prospective home buyers and sellers who either purchased or sold their first home within the past year or are planning to buy or sell their first home within the next year. The quantitative study yielded results from 353 first-time home buyers and 355 first-time home sellers in the form of an online survey fielded from March 12 to 16. The margin of error for this study is 3.7 percent.

About Century 21 Real Estate LLC:
Century 21 Real Estate LLC (century21.com) is the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization, providing comprehensive training, management, administrative and marketing support for the CENTURY 21 System. The System is comprised of more than 7,700 independently owned and operated franchised broker offices and 117,000 sales associates in 67 countries and territories worldwide. Century 21 Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services.

Rick Davidson Century21 Easter Seals

With the $2.1 million raised by its franchise system in 2009, CENTURY 21® has surpassed $100 million in funds raised for and donated directly by the franchise system to Easter Seals, its sole philanthropic partner since 1979. CENTURY 21 delivered on its system-wide goal of surpassing the $100 million fundraising mark on behalf of Easter Seals during the 30th anniversary year of their philanthropic partnership.

This year CENTURY 21® is proud to support Easter Seals’ Act for Autism campaign. Over the last 20 years, Easter Seals has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people with autism the organization serves — both through its services developed specifically for people with autism and through services that include children and adults with autism among other service recipients.

Autism. The time to act for families is now.

  • Every 20 minutes, another child is diagnosed with autism.
  • Millions now struggle to find help — countless more will follow.
  • Autism is treatable, but we need to act.

CENTURY 21® Agents and Brokers know that families have a choice when seeking real estate professionals and our support of Easter Seals is one way of saying, “Thanks” to our clients and their neighbors and friends.

Members of the CENTURY21 International staff volunteer at Easter Seals Camp Merry Heart in Hacketstown, NJ.
Members of the CENTURY21 International staff volunteer at Easter Seals Camp Merry Heart in Hacketstown, NJ.
Century21 Easter Seals Banner

First-time home buyers and move up buyers have another great reason to get on the path to purchasing a new home! The benefit to First-time homebuyers is a tax credit up to $8,000 and for qualified Move-up buyers a tax credit up to $6,500. But this opportunity ends in April.

  • Between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010, homebuyers that have a signed binding contract to purchase a home by April 30, 2010 may be eligible for the tax credit. The transaction must close by June 30, 2010.
  • For First-Time Homebuyers, a tax credit up to $8,000 ($4000 for married filing separate), homebuyers may receive a credit of 10 percent of the purchase price up to the $8,000 tax credit amount. If you have never owned a home before or have not owned a principle residence in the last three years, you are considered a First-Time Homebuyer.
  • For the “Move Up” consumer, a tax credit of up to $6,500 ($3250 married filing separate) is available for Homeowners who have lived in their current residence for at least five consecutive years out of the past eight years. The homebuyers can receive a credit up to $6,500 when they contract to purchase a home by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30, 2010

The tax credit does not have to be repaid provided you live in the new home for a minimum of three years. Military families who must move due to a call to active duty are exempt from this minimum.

This is intended to provide an overview only – for specific information or individual concerns, please contact your lawyer, accountant and/or financial adviser.