Consumers with great credit
Recent buyers also have better-than-normal credit.
The average FICO credit score is 689, according to Anthony Sprauve, spokesman for myFICO, a division of FICO.
By contrast, the average score for homebuyers getting conventional mortgages is about 761, according to Sara Wiskerchen, spokeswoman for the National Association of Realtors. That's up from 734 in 2008 and 711 in 2001, she says.
Also worth noting: That 761 likely isn't the buyer's highest score, either.
Mortgage lenders typically pull all three credit scores and use the one in the middle, Sprauve says. Or, in the case of a couple, the lowest middle score.
Even more than income, credit criteria are the main factor in determining who's buying homes today, Noriega says.