The National Association of Realtors reported last month that first-time homebuyers accounted for 32% of existing home sales in December, an increase of 3% year to date. Throughout the recovery, these critical buyers to the whole real estate chain have remained relatively absent, and because of that, a number of outlets and analysts quickly seized on the narrative that first-time homebuyers were returning. So does a 3% bump confirm that, no, with slower income growth and the demons of student loans a heavy burden we are not in the clear.

Married W/Children?

According to the US Census Bureau, the median age for first time marriages since 2000 has risen from 26.8 to 29.3 for men, and from 25.1 to 27.0 for women; in 1959, the ages were 22.5 for men and 20.2 for women. These statistics may seem, on the surface, to bear no influence on housing. However a recent survey found otherwise: 43% of respondents plan to purchase a home when they marry or move in with a partner.

That statistic was part of a broader question on what milestones would precipitate a home purchase, and a marriage was by far the most pivotal event in respondents’ homebuying decision; by comparison, only 9% cited graduating college as cause to buy a home. So, if marriages are delayed, it stands to reason that first-time home purcahses will be delayed, as a result.