The share of prospective home buyers looking to buy a newly built home peaked at 42% in the fourth quarter of 2020, before falling to 38% and 33%, respectively, in the first two quarters of 2021.
The drop is most likely the direct result of strong gains in new home prices in 2021, which have been driven by double-digit growth in the price of goods used in residential construction. These results come from NAHB's latest Housing Trends Report.
In contrast, the share of buyers looking only at existing homes rose from 31% in the final quarter of 2020 to 35% in the second quarter of 2021, while those who will buy either new or existing homes increased from 27% to 32% of all prospective buyers during this period.
Regionally, the share of buyers who would prefer a new home peaked in the Northeast and West in the first quarter of 2021 at 60% and 51%, respectively, before falling to 34% and 40% in the second quarter of the year.
In the South, the share peaked in the third quarter of 2020 at 33%, but is now at 30%. In the Midwest, the share peaked in the final quarter of 2020 at 27%, but is now down to 19%.
Rose Quint, NAHB's assistant vice president for survey research, provides more analysis in this Eye on Housing blog post.