Many younger buyers have missed out on low interest rates. According to new data from the National Association of Realtors, first-time buyers accounted for 28 percent of existing-home purchases in May, down from 34 percent a year earlier and 36 percent two years ago. Young buyers are facing competition in the housing market from cash buyers and repeat buyers, and home loans are harder to get than before the housing bust. Also, the recession has reduced the presence of young buyers, leaving the 25- to 34-year-old group with a higher level of unemployment than adults overall. "It remains to be seen when the first-time buyer can return," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR.