Among consumers who purchased their first home in the last year, 67 percent said market conditions allowed them to afford a home sooner than they anticipated, according to a recent survey from Coldwell Banker. The survey found a majority of first-time buyers were able to get a better price on a home in a more desirable neighborhood than they expected. Also, 40 percent of those surveyed said they were able to afford a bigger house and 43 percent said they were able to lock in a lower mortgage rate than expected. According to The National Association of Realtors, first-time buyers accounted for half the market in 2010. More here and here.