First-Time Homebuyers Began Exodus from Housing Market In April, Latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance Survey Reveals

WASHINGTON DC (May 24) – First-time homebuyers started to desert the housing market in April, ahead of expectations, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance Monthly Survey of Real Estate Market Conditions.

The closely-watched survey found that 43.4% of April’s home purchase transactions were attributable to first-time homebuyers, a significant drop from March’s figure of a huge 48.2%. For the winter months of January to March, first-time homebuyer participation had been growing at a rapid clip; April’s data represents a clear reversal in the trend.

Although first-time homebuyers had until April 30 to sign a home purchase contract (and close by June 30) to qualify for an $8,000 tax credit, the new survey results show that first-time homebuyers were reducing their activity even before hitting that deadline.

“We were surprised to see the early decline in first-time homebuyer participation,” commented Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys. “When the tax credit was expected to expire last November, we saw a peak of first-time homebuyers in October. Now the first-time homebuyer peak appears to have occurred not one month, but two months early.”

Importantly, the survey results revealed that existing or current homeowners picked up the slack from first-time homebuyers, expanding their share of the home purchase market from 33.5% in March to 38.7% in April. Current homeowners qualify for as much as a $6,500 tax credit that also expired April 30 for purchase contracts.

Separately, the proportion of damaged foreclosed properties or so-called real estate owned (REO) sold during April plunged. Damaged REO accounted for 15.4% of transactions in March, but only 12.8% in April. One reason for the drop in damaged REO may be increasing numbers of short sales.

Short sales – where the home is sold for less than the mortgage amount outstanding and with lender approval – represent a way to resolve homeowners in default without going through the foreclosure process. Short sales were the largest portion of the distressed property housing market in April with 17.9%, the survey found.

The Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance Monthly Survey of Real Estate Market Conditions surveys more than 1,500 real estate agents nationwide each month and provides up-to-date intelligence on home sales and mortgage usage patterns. 



For more information on the survey contact: John Campbell at Campbell Surveys, (202) 363-2069,





With rates higher this year, there has been talk of lenders liberalizing their underwriting standards in an effort to increase volume and make up for lower refis.

Do you think your shop will loosen standards over the coming three months?

Yes, but not by much.


Yes, by a lot.


Yes and, heck, we may even do non-QM lending.


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