A new year often marks the beginning of a new life chapter. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans are interested in purchasing homes. According to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) latest Housing Trends Report, survey responses show that the share of Americans who are considering the purchase of a home in the next 12 months increased in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The survey reports that interest among Americans who are considering purchasing a home increased by four percentage points higher than a year earlier. The change in interest represents the largest year-over-year gain in the three-year history of the survey question. The gain shows the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact Americans’ propensity to want to buy homes.
Millennials are the generational group that stands out in their intent to buy a home. Between the fourth quarters of 2019 and 2020, the share of millennials planning a home purchase rose eight points to 27 percent. The share increased six points to 18 percent among Gen Xers, three points to 16 percent among Gen Z, and was flat among baby boomers.
When it comes to first-time prospective home buyers’ the interest among different generations shifts dramatically. The share of prospective buyers who are buying a home for the first-time declined slightly at the end of the year, except for boomers. Among the boomer generation, the share of first-time home buyers rose from 20 percent to 25 percent in the final quarter of 2020 compared to a year earlier.
Geographically, the share of adults with plans to buy a home rose in all four regions during this period, led by the Northeast (up nine points to 19 percent) and the West (up six points to 18 percent). Across regions, significantly fewer prospective buyers in the Northeast (55 percent) are 1st-timers compared to a year earlier (65 percent). The share was flat in the West and changed slightly in the Midwest and South.
More than a third (37 percent) of perspective home buyers expect that finding the right home will get easier in the months ahead, compared to less than a quarter (23 percent) a year ago. The improvement in buyers’ perceptions on availability reflects the fact that more new and existing homes were sold in 2020 than any year since 2006.