In 2024, the demographics of homebuyers reveal notable shifts and challenges. The average age of first-time buyers stands at 35, while repeat buyers are typically 58. Popular Illinois cities such as Chicago and Naperville are seeing continued interest despite the hurdles presented by high prices. In Chicago, the average list price is around $335,000, while Naperville, known for its family-friendly communities, is even higher at $540,000.

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The housing market remains a tough environment for prospective buyers due to soaring mortgage rates, limited inventory, and high competition. Mortgage rates peaked at over 7.8% in late 2023, contributing to a pessimistic outlook among many potential buyers. Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe a market crash is imminent in the next three years, while 74% feel that obstacles like affordability and high interest rates will prevent them from purchasing a home in 2024.

Illinois offers various assistance programs for first-time buyers to ease these difficulties. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) provides grants, down payment assistance, and fixed-rate mortgages. Other local programs in cities like Chicago help with closing costs and offer tax credits.

Despite the gloomy market sentiment, 12% of Americans still plan to buy a home this year, with an average intended budget of $274,800. However, buyers should remain realistic and strategic, focusing on saving for down payments and monitoring their credit in preparation for their purchase.

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