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The typical age of a first-time homebuyer in the US is now 33 years old, up from 30 years old in the late 1980s, according to a recent report from Zillow.

The report, which analyzes first-time homebuyer characteristics based on the federally-funded Panel Survey of Income Dynamics, also found that people now rent for an average of six years before buying, compared to 4.4 years back in the late 1980s. In the early 1970s, first-time homebuyers rented for less than three years before purchasing a house.

First-time homebuyers spending more

The median price of a home for a first-time buyer today is $140,328 — 2.6 times the median income. In the late 80s, starter homes cost 1.9 times the median income of a typical first-time buyer.

Here’s how the median income of first-time homebuyers (adjusted for inflation) compare with the median starter home price (adjusted for inflation) over the past 4.5 decades.


The Zillow analysis also found that only 40 percent of first-time homebuyers are married, compared to 52 percent two decades ago. Families are smaller too, with an average of two people living in a starter home today compared to 2.4 in the late 1980s.

For more stats and figures, click through these seven graphs created by Zillow using data from the University of Michigan’s Panel Survey of Income Dynamics.


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