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Survey: bigger share of first-time buyers

64% of sellers choose agent on referral, repeat biz

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The latest annual National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, released Friday, found that the share of first-time homebuyers rose to 47 percent of all home sales, compared with 41 percent in the 2008 study -- with 55 percent of first-time buyers using a Federal Housing Administration-insured loan and 8 percent using the Veterans Affairs loan program. The results are based on 9,138 responses from a national sample of homebuyers who completed an eight-page survey in July 2009. The median age of first-time buyers was 30 and the median income was $61,600, NAR reported. That compares to a median age of 48 for repeat buyers, who had a median income of $88,100. Buyers participating in the study searched for a median 12 weeks and viewed 12 homes, the survey revealed. The median downpayment for all buyers was 8 percent, with 15 percent purchasing with no money down (compared with 23 percent in the 2008 survey) and 8 percent of buyers paying all cash. About 36...