First-time home buyers set new record…

The number of first-time home buyers rose to 47 percent of all home sales during the past year, up from 41 percent last year, according to NAR’s 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.  The increase marked the highest on records dating back to 1981. The previous high was 44 percent in 1991.

“These buyers are critical to housing and a general economic recovery because the market always heals from the bottom up – they absorb inventory, free existing owners to make a trade and stimulate related goods and services,” said Paul Bishop, NAR vice president of research.

The report also found that sellers primarily want agents to price their home competitively, find a buyer, market the property and sell within a specific timeframe. Reputation was the most important factor in choosing an agent, cited by 36 percent of respondents, followed by trustworthiness at 21 percent.

Home buyers identified the most important services agents offer as helping find the right house, and negotiating sales terms and price. The most commonly cited benefits of using an agent were helping buyers understand the process, pointing out unnoticed features or faults, negotiating better contract terms, and providing a better list of service providers, according to the report.

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