NAR released a home sales report indicating people in their late 20s and early 30s accounted for only 30 percent of buyers in the past year, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
In 2009, first-time buyers accounted for more than 50 percent of sales when recession-era tax credits fueled the real estate market. In the past 30 years, they've averaged 40 percent of sales.
"First-time buyers are important to get the housing market to move to a new plateau," said Steven Ricchiuto, the chief economist for Mizuho Securities USA Inc. "Without them, you just get stuck at a marginal recovery environment."
Overall, sales of existing homes fell 1.2 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million, down from 5.14 million in May but up 15.2 percent from June 2012.
The national median price for an existing home was $214,200 in June, up 13.5 percent from a year ago, the association report said.