Homebuyer Buzz: First-Time Buyers Want To Achieve “American Dream”

March 30, 2021


Homebuyer Buzz is our monthly round-up of news stories related to the latest in homebuying trends — from the evolving wants of homebuyers to design news and more.   

Rising consumer confidence, more technologically savvy buyers and the hopes of gaining the American dream of homeownership could make for an interesting spring homebuying market. We also pulled stories on home must-haves (from fireplaces to nice kitchens) and look at how Americans are moving inwards.  

Homebuyers across the generations 

The American dream and first-time homebuyersA realtor.com survey found that the top reason first-time homebuyers (representing almost two-thirds of millennials and half of Gen Z buyers) want to purchase a home is to achieve the American dream of homeownership. According to the same survey, about 43 percent of first-time buyers have been looking for a home for over a year. Still, buyers want move-in ready spaces and only 11 percent said they’d get a fixer-upper. [Realtor.com] 

Millennials are dominating the housing market, but Gen Zers are now activeIn the latest Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report for 2021, the National Association of Realtors found that, while a small number, two percent of all buyers and sellers are now Gen Z. Unsurprisingly, millennials still make up the largest share at 37 percent of all homebuyers. The report also found that 18 percent of Gen X buyers purchased multigenerational homes. [NAR] 

Wellness trends for 55-plus homebuyersHome builders and real estate agents alike are tracking the preferences of 55-plus homebuyers from more integration of ADUs, or “granny flats,” to multigenerational living and healthy outside living and socializing options. Fifty-five-plus shoppers are also drawn to links between health and housing (like improved ventilation to reduce risk of viral spread) and the ability to age in place. [Forbes] 

Consumer confidence in making rent and mortgage payments goes up 

Freddie Mac’s latest survey shows rising consumer confidenceSurvey respondents for the latest Freddie Mac survey on consumer confidence (two-thirds of which are homeowners while one-third are renters) indicated that fears around making mortgages or rent, more keenly felt in 2020, were abating by February 2021. Confidence in the housing market also rose to 66 percent in February, while the survey found that the likelihood of homeowners selling their homes and renters looking to purchase a home held steady into 2021. [HousingWire] 

Permanent post-COVID homebuying trends? 

COVID changed the way homebuyers want to buy homesAmong the trends that are here to stay for home shoppers are virtual home showings, an increased comfort with sight-unseen offers and remote closingsWhile more subdued open houses are likely to return, some real estate agents are celebrating the end of lavish open houses that were often a popular ground for gawkers and, even, thieves. Meanwhile, sight-unseen offers aren’t as risky as they once seemed with options to back out if a property doesn’t pass inspection. [Realtor.com] 

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Homebuyers going big in these metros 

Buyers are clamoring for big homes again. Realtor.com found that large homes (4,000 square-feet or more) were selling faster year-over-year in February in more than 70 percent of the 150 largest metros. So which metros are selling the biggest homes? Provo, Utah, came in first, followed by Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Denver, Colorado. [Realtor.com] 

Design features that pay off 

Adding a fireplace can increase home’s valueFireplaces continue to be one of the most popular home features in for-sale homes. Redfin found that on average, homes listed with a fireplace sold for 13 percent more than the national median sales price. According to their data, homes with fireplaces also average the most views per listing. Of all types, gas fireplaces are particularly treasured[Redfin] 

Survey finds support for universal design and outdoor cookingThe American Institute of Architects recently released their latest residential design trends survey, finding that accessibility, outdoor cooking and larger walk-in showers topped the list. AIA also found that there is increasing popularity for sensor faucets in both the kitchen and bathrooms, as well as pantry space and even outdoor showers. [Architect] 

Luxury kitchens and bathrooms are must-havesZillow found that homes that advertised higher-end kitchen and bathrooms sold for higher than expected last year, while self-admitted fixer-uppers sold for 13 percent less than expected. Not entirely shocking, the desire for higher-end features could very well be a result of spending 2020 cooking and eating at homeZillow even found that listings that mentioned steam ovens topped the list for sale price premiums. [Zillow] 

Migration trends 

Homebuyers are migrating away from large coastal citiesNew CoreLogic data suggests that homebuyers are migrating away from coasts to live in adjacent metros and ones with a lower cost of living, or in some cases both. According to CoreLogic, coastal cities experienced higher outbound buying activity, including New York, which saw the highest net out-migration. Riverside, California, on the other hand, experienced the highest in-migration activity. [World Property Journal] 

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