According to NAHB’s latest Housing Trends Report (HTR), the share of Americans who are considering the purchase of a home in the next 12 months was 15% in the fourth quarter of 2020, four percentage points higher than a year earlier and the largest year-over-year gain in the 3+year history of this series. The gain shows the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Americans’ propensity to want to buy homes.
Meanwhile, the share of prospective buyers who would be purchasing a home for the first time declined slightly in the year ended in Qtr4’20, down from 63% to 61%.
Between the fourth quarters of 2019 and 2020, the share of Millennials planning a home purchase rose eight points to 27%. The share increased 6 points to 18% among Gen X’ers, 3 points to 16% among Gen Z, and was flat at 5% among Boomers. Geographically, the share of adults with plans to buy a home rose in all four regions during this period, led by the Northeast (up 9 points to 19%) and the West (up 6 points to 18%).
Lower shares of prospective buyers of every generation are attempting homeownership for the first time in the final quarter of 2020 than a year earlier, except for Boomers. The share of 1st-timers fell 8 points to 70% among Millennial buyers, 7 points to 81% among Gen Z, and 7 points to 50% among Gen X buyers. Among Boomers, the share rose from 20% to 25% during this period.
Across regions, significantly fewer prospective buyers in the Northeast (55%) are 1st-timers compared to a year earlier (65%). The share was flat in the West, and changed slightly in the Midwest and South.
* 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 fourth quarter of 2020.