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Who might buy your home?

Who buys homes these days? The same people who bought last year -- there are just not as many of them.

The mix of homebuyers -- singles, families, couples, first-time buyers and repeat buyers -- has remained roughly the same over the past few years, according to the most recent study from the National Association of Realtors.

While the number of buyers has dropped in many areas, "I think the ratio has not changed," says C.D. "Chip" Boring, broker/owner of Re/Max Realty Plus in Sebring, Fla.

But some agents say the changing market has affected who is shopping for a home.

"I'm seeing a lot more younger people, a lot of first-time homebuyers," says Bunny Stuart, associate broker with Weichert Realtors in Kingston, N.Y.

And buyers are becoming more selective, according to agents, raising their standards and touring more homes before making a decision.

"It's upped the ante a little bit," says Stuart. "They have more desires because they have more out there to choose from."

Who's buying homes
Plant a "for sale" sign in the lawn and who's most likely to knock on your door? The typical buyer is a young, white, married couple with no kids, according to the Realtor's study.

For a closer look at homebuyers, see:
Looking at the typical homebuyer
Why someone might buy your home

While singles and ethnic groups have made strides in home buying, they are still in the minority, according to the NAR. Single women make up 20 percent of all homebuyers, a number that has stayed relatively constant for the past few years. Likewise, single men comprise a constant 9 percent of buyers. African-Americans make up 7 percent of the home-buying populace; Hispanics and Latinos are 6 percent, and Asians and Pacific Islanders are 5 percent, according to the study.

Buyer incomes are moving up. At least half of last year's buyers had a household income that topped $74,000, according to the group's numbers.

The average cost of what they're buying falls somewhere in the $200,000-plus range. Last year, the median home price was $215,000 (meaning half of buyers paid more and half paid less), according to the Realtors.

First time buyers take out mortgages for $202,265 on average, according to numbers from the Mortgage Bankers Association, or MBA. Repeat buyers sign on for an average of $233,433.

Who's not buying
The decline in homebuyers is nothing new. The number of homebuyers has been dropping steadily over the past three years. From 2005 through 2007, home sales dropped 22.7 percent, according to statistics from the MBA.

Today's home market has "definitely slowed down," says Glen Lazovick, director of mortgage lending at Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union.

"I wouldn't say the buyers are different, so much as the qualifications for loans are different," he says. The most affected: younger and first-time buyers, he says.

Next: "Buyers are ... passing up 'almost perfect.'"
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