There are lots of first-time buyers in the market now, and they are driving the action. It's clear that it's harder to get a mortgage now than it was when those of us who are older bought our first homes, and the qualification standards are stiffer, even though rates are lower.
Because they are buying for the first time, they are often more hesitant to buy in situations where they might not feel comfortable. Therefore, they often request more in the way of repairs, tests, and allowances for improvements. In addition, having buyers ask for contributions to closing costs is a trend that we have seen in increasing numbers. Sellers should not be insulted, since first-time buyers have no history, so no way of knowing that such a proposition might seem aggressive.
Since beginning buyers often look at more options, open houses have been very popular. There may also be more repeat showings, with relatives and friends coming to weigh in on the potential purchase. The closing can take longer as well, since documentation requests may be unfamiliar and take more time to fulfill.
Whatever the downsides, there is a great upside: They are very motivated to buy and own their own homes, and they are out there!