Homeownership Postponed

The share of adults planning a home purchase within 12 months has fallen for two consecutive quarters, going from 17% in the second quarter of 2021, to 16% and 15% in the third and fourth quarter of the year, respectively. The downward trend provides evidence that higher home prices and low housing availability (relative to demand) are leading some Americans to postpone their homeownership plans.

Meanwhile, the share of these prospective buyers who are purchasing a home for the first time dropped for the first time since mid-2020. In the final quarter of 2021 it was 63%, compared to 65% a quarter earlier.

These results come from NAHB’s Housing Trends Report for the fourth quarter of 2021.

The share of adults with plans to buy a home was lower in the final quarter of 2021 than earlier in the year in all regions of the country, except in the Midwest (where it has been flat at 13% since the second quarter). Across generations, buying plans dropped significantly among Gen X’ers, from 18% to 12%, during the year ended in quarter 4, 2021.

Over half of prospective buyers in every region are 1st-timers. Between the third and fourth quarters of 2021, the share rose from 65% to 70% in the Northeast, but declined from 69% to 60% in the Midwest.

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 seasonally adjusted. 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 fourth quarter of 2021.

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