COVID-19 Continues to Fuel Desire for Homeownership


Sixteen percent of American adults are considering the purchase of a home in the next 12 months, according to NAHB’s Housing Trends Report for Qtr1’21. That is six points higher than the 10% with similar plans a year earlier. The increase marks the third (and largest) year-over-year gain in the share of prospective buyers in the series history. This steady growth shows the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to fuel Americans’ desire to buy homes.

Meanwhile, the share of prospective buyers who would be purchasing a home for the first time stood at 62% in the first quarter of the year, essentially unchanged from a year earlier (61%).

Millennials are the generation with the fastest growth in adults planning a home purchase: the share of this group with plans to buy a home in the next 12 months doubled from 16% to 32% in the year ended in Qtr1’21, while other generations saw more tepid growth.

Similarly, the Northeast is the region of the country with the fastest growth in adults planning a home purchase: the share more than doubled from 8% to 20% in the year ended in Qtr1’21. The other three regions also saw growth (although less dramatic) in the share of adults planning a home purchase during this period.

At 85%, Generation Z has the largest share of prospective first-time home buyers, unchanged from a year earlier. Other generations saw slight declines in the shares buying a home for the first time.

At 65%, the Northeast has the largest share of 1st-time buyers, up from 58% a year earlier. The share also rose in the South (58% to 64%), but declined in the Midwest and West. Overall, more than half of buyers in every region are attempting homeownership for the first time.

* The HOUSING TRENDS REPORT is a research product created by the NAHB Economics team with the goal of measuring prospective home buyers’ perceptions about the availability and affordability of homes for-sale in their markets. The HTR is produced quarterly to track changes in buyers’ perceptions over time. All data are derived from national polls of representative samples of American adults conducted for NAHB by Morning Consult. Results are not seasonally adjusted due to the short-time horizon of the series, and therefore only year-over-year comparisons are statistically valid. A description of the poll’s methodology and sample characteristics can be found here. This is the first in a series of six posts highlighting results for the first quarter of 2021.

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