In 2005, the annual number of first-time home buyers in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 3.2 million, but by 2008 it fell below 2 million and remains at that level today, reports Issi Romem, chief economist at Buildzoom.

After looking over data from The Annual Social and Economics Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS ASEC), a joint project of the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Romem notes that first-time home buyers now need to make a higher income than they did pre-recession.

The average first time buyer at the peak of the housing boom was drawn from the 56th percentile of the income distribution, whereas now she is drawn from the 59th. In other words, during the boom first-time buyers were able to step into homeownership from lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder.

To read the rest of Romem’s analysis, click below.

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