According to the National Association of Realtors®, pending home sales rose strongly in October and remain above year-ago levels. In the Midwest, the index jumped 24.1 percent in October and remains 13.2 percent above a year ago. First-time home buyers are currently making up 37% of the market. Fifty-four percent of first-time buyers are financing with a low -down payment FHA mortgage and 6% used the VA loan program which requires no down payment. Interest rates at record lows and excellent affordability conditions continue to increase demand.