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One Chart Explains the Difficulties Facing First-Time Homeowners

Sadly, we're all too aware of the challenges facing homebuyers in major cities across the country. But many of the larger economic forces at play are making this big purchase particularly difficult for first-time buyers. According to City Observatory, the rookie homeowners is an "endangered species," even in an era of low interest rates and low housing prices. Total sales of new and existing homes are down more than three million annually from pre-Recession rates, and the number of first-time buyers have reached a historic low. In fact, considering all the hurdles facing young buyers, from higher prices and less income to greater debt burdens, the Urban Institute believes that between now and 2030, any net increase in homeownership will come from Baby Boomers, not Millennials.

The above chart, part of a presentation by Stan Humphries, the Chief Analytics Office and Chief Economist and Zillow, portends bigger changes in the housing market. Humphries goes on to note that condo sales make up 40 percent of first-time purchases now, compared to 28% in 2001, and that this generation isn't against homeownership by any means. They just face a tougher market than their predecessors.

· Why Homes in Major U.S. Cities Are Nearly Impossible To Afford [Curbed]