Home Buying Interest Increases Amid COVID-19

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COVID-19 has influenced a number of decisions surrounding the home, including a movement toward less dense areas, and homeownership is no different. According to data from NAHB's latest Housing Trends Report, in the third quarter of 2020, 13% of Americans are considering purchasing a home in the next 12 months. Interest has increased one percentage point over last year — the first year-over-year gain in the three-year history of this series.

Increased interest can be seen across generations, with millennials as the primary driver (22%). Gen Z (14%) and Gen X (14%) also saw increased interest year-over-year, while baby boomers' interest remained flat. The share of prospective first-time buyers, however, is declining. In the third quarter of 2018, 61% of prospective buyers were first-time buyers; by the third quarter of 2020, the share was 55%.

Interest in existing homes declined as well, from 41% to 37%, with prospective home buyers increasingly looking toward new homes. The share interested in a newly-built home rose to 31% in the third quarter of 2020, up from 18% a year earlier.

Rose Quint, NAHB's assistant vice president for survey research, provides more information in this Eye on Housing post.

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