First-time homebuyers appear to be getting back into the market more strongly with interest rates moving down to new lows. First-time buyers accounted for 33 percent of residential sales in June 2016, up from the 30 percent share in May 2016 and one year ago (Chart 1), according to the June 2016 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report ().1
The approval of H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016” by both the House of Representatives and the Senate is expected to help first-time buyers by increasing the access to FHA condominium financing. The new law addresses a number of restrictive conditions that have restricted access to condominium financing related to owner-occupancy requirements, the condominium re-certification process, mixed-use buildings, and private transfer fees. Under the new regulation, condominiums that are 35 percent owner occupied are eligible for FHA-insured financing, a lower barrier than the current requirement of 50 percent.
 First-time buyers accounted for about 32 percent of all home buyers based on data from NAR’s 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (HBS). The HBS is a survey of primary residence home buyers and does not capture investor purchases but does cover both existing and new home sales. The RCI Survey is a survey of REALTORS® about their transactions and captures purchases for investment purposes and second homes for existing homes.
 NAR data used in calculating the Home Affordability Index.
The bill, which was championed by NAR, passed the House of Representatives 427-0 and the Senate under unanimous consent on July 14, 2016. The bill is on the way for the President’s signing. See http://www.realtor.org/articles/hr-3700-heading-to-president