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Home buyers: Despite record low interest rates -- to say nothing of negative equity keeping current homeowners from trading up -- first-time home buyers still make up a smaller share of the market than they have historically.


According to a National Association of Realtors survey, industry professionals are saw the number of first-time buyers drop off in May and June as other indicators showed an improving market. In June, 32 percent of buyers purchased their first home, compared with a historical average of 40 percent.


At the same time, cash investors remain bigger players than they did before the market downturn. About 29 of purchases were all-cash, and 19 percent of purchases were investors.


According to the Realtors group, investors have crowded out first-time buyers by offering attractive cash bids on entry-level homes and foreclosures. Additionally, first-time buyers have a tough time securing financing and scraping together a down payment.


By Elliot Njus, The Oregonian Published: Monday, July 30, 2012