High home prices hit first-time buyers harder than ever, and student loans may be part of the reason

As the economy and wages improved in 2017, first-time homebuyers were finally moving back into the market — until that turned around again.

Sky-high home prices and few low-priced listings took their toll on these buyers yet again. For those who did buy, they had to pony up and pay more money for less house.

The share of sales to first-time buyers fell to 34 percent in 2017, down from 35 percent in 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors’ annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. That is the fourth-lowest share in the survey’s 36-year history. First-time buyers historically make up closer to 40 percent of homebuyers.

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