Morning Minute: First-time buyers returning as a force in the spring housing market?

If the increased interest over the last few months are any indication, first-time homebuyers are getting back into the housing market and could be an important factor in the spring buying/selling season, according to a new Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey.

First-time homebuyers accounted for 34.5 percent of purchases in February, up from 32.9 percent in December. And first-time homebuyer traffic hit a four-year high of 66.4 percent in February, according to the HousingPulse traffic index. Read the full news release.

“First-time homebuyers are the wildcard in the upcoming spring-summer homebuying season,” said Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys. “We see strong first-time homebuyer traffic, but it’s still not clear that the traffic will translate into increased purchases, because first-time homebuyers are dependent on low-downpayment financing, such as FHA mortgages, and announced FHA program changes will take effect this spring.”

In other news:

Phase-out of cap on property tax assessments begins in city this year – Chicago Sun-Times

Real estate apps can help, or overwhelm, homebuyers – Belleville News-Democrat

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