What Is the Average Age of a First-Time Homebuyer?

Age may not be as big a factor as you think

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In 2021, the average age of a first-time homebuyer, defined as someone who hasn’t owned a home for the past three years, was 33, up slightly from the average age in 2018.

Regardless of age, if you qualify as a first-time homebuyer, specific programs may be available to help you. First-time homebuyer programs, which are typically controlled at the state and local levels, provide down-payment and closing-cost assistance to first-time homebuyers. These programs are valuable resources to those who may otherwise not be able to purchase a home.

Key Takeaways

  • In 2021, the average age of a first-time homebuyer (an individual who hasn’t purchased a home in the last three years) was 33, which was up slightly from the average age of 32 in 2018.
  • In 2021, the average age of a repeat homebuyer reached an all-time high of 56.
  • The average credit score of a first-time homebuyer is 716.

The Average First-Time Homebuyer

In 2021, the average age of a first-time homebuyer was 33 years old. The average age of a first-time homebuyer has remained fairly steady over the years, while the average age of repeat homebuyers continues to rise. In 2021, the median age for repeat homebuyers reached an all-time high of 56 years old.

Married couples account for 60% of first-time homebuyers, while unmarried couples account for 9%. In addition, 19% of first-time homebuyers are single females, and 9% are single men.

Out of all the individuals buying a house, 28% did so because they desired to own a home of their own. This number increases when you look at first-time homebuyers—65% of whom cite  wanting a home of their own as their driving goal.

How Average First-Time Homebuyer Ages Have Changed

The average age of first-time homebuyers has increased over the years. In 1981, the median age of first-time homebuyers was 29, but by 2021, the median age had increased to 33.

Interesting to note is that the percentage of married couples buying a home has decreased over the years, while the number of single females buying a house has increased. In 1981, 73% of first-time homebuyers were married couples, compared to 60% in 2021. And in 1981, 11% of first-time homebuyers were single females, compared to 19% in 2021.

The rate of financing a home has also decreased over time. In 1981, 93% of first-time homebuyers financed their purchase, compared to 87% in 2021. And the average down payment has decreased from 20% in 1981 to 13% in 2021.

How Old Do You Need To Be To Buy a House?

Any age restrictions around a home purchase are largely decided by the lender, although state laws play a role in that as well. Most programs require borrowers to be at least 18 years old.

Minors can’t buy or sell property, but it is possible to transfer property to a minor through a guardianship or trust. In most cases, the minor would have beneficial ownership of the property with a custodian acting as a trustee.

Does Age Matter When You Buy a Home?

As long as you’re legally an adult, it doesn’t matter how old you are when you buy a home. The real issue is whether or not you’re financially prepared to buy a home, the odds of which increase with age.

For instance, the average credit score of first-time homebuyers is 716. But this type of credit score can be hard to achieve when you’re young. The average credit score of those in their twenties is 662, but it’s a number that can often take some time to increase. The average credit score for a 23-year-old is 630.

Another factor that can play into your ability to buy a home is how much debt you have. Most lenders look for a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 43% or less, which means that your monthly debt payments account for less than 43% of your monthly income.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you qualify for first-time homebuyer programs?

First-time homebuyer programs are controlled at the state and local levels, so the exact requirements can vary depending on where you live. Typically, you’ll need to be a first-time homebuyer with a low to moderate annual income.

Depending on the program you apply for, you may also need to meet certain credit requirements. For instance, you’ll need a credit score of at least 580 to receive maximum financing from an FHA loan.

What credit score does a first-time homebuyer need?

This depends on your lender and the type of loan for which you’re applying. The average credit score of a first-time homebuyer is 716, but you may qualify for a home loan if your score is lower than that. Government-backed loans usually come with lower credit score requirements. For instance, VA loans don’t have a minimum credit score requirement.

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Article Sources

  1. National Association of Realtors. “2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” Page 8.

  2. National Association of Realtors. “2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” Page 7.

  3. Hutchens Law Firm. “3 Things To Consider When Deeding Property to a Minor.”

  4. California State Board of Equalization. “Property Tax Annotations.”

  5. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Buying a Home.”

  6. American Express. “Average Credit Scores by Age, State, and Income.”

  7. Federal Reserve. “Does the Age at Which a Consumer Gets Their First Credit Matter? Credit Bureau Entry Age and First Credit Type Effects on Credit Score.”

  8. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “What Is a Debt-To-Income Ratio?

  9. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Section A. Borrower Eligibility Requirements,” Page 3.

  10. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “VA Guaranteed Loan.”