Homebuyer Buzz: What Homebuyers Really Want in 2021

April 29, 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.   

Homebuyers were grilled on what they want, and the answers might surprise you. Additionally, we’ve pulled articles on what’s likely to be a frenzied spring market, including insights on how many sellers might list their homes throughout the next year. In design news, there’s also a new it color coming... in two yearsCan you guess what it is? 

What homebuyers really want 

One-out-of-five buyers want a bigger homeThe National Association of Home Builders’ latest What Home Buyers Really Want report shows that 25 percent of buyers said the pandemic has impacted what they want in a home, while one-in-five buyers would now like a larger home. Buyers with at least one teleworker in the household and one virtual student were significantly more likely to want larger homes. The share of buyers who’d prefer to buy their next home in an outlying suburb also increased to 30 percent, up from 26 percent. [NAHB] 

Buyers don’t agree on exterior designIn the same report, NAHB also found that homebuyers aren’t exactly agreed on exterior design, with the leading style only receiving 32 percent of the responses. That style is traditional, with contemporary following at 24 percent of the vote, transitional at 16 percent and modern at 14 percent. Traditional home styles were the first choice of a plurality of voters in almost all divisions except the Pacific, where 29 percent preferred a contemporary home style. [Eye On Housing] 

Young homebuyers are interested in community and building equity. A Bank of America report found that more than half (51 percent) of young homebuyers aged 18 to 43 consider community and friendly neighbors when deciding on a new home. Sixty-eight percent of young homebuyers and 75 percent of young homeowners also reported that safety and security have increased in priority as they choose where they live. [HousingWire] 

The lasting impact of COVID 

The pandemic continues to fuel a desire for homeownershipProspective buyers continue to show interest in homeownership following the start of the pandemic with 16 percent of adults in the U.S. wanting to purchase a home in the next year. That’s up from 10 percent this time last year, which represents the third (and largest) year-over-year increase in NAHB’s Housing Trends Report history. The growth has been primarily driven by millennials. Their interest in homeownership doubled to 32 percent in the first quarter of 2021, up from 16 percent in 2020. [NAHB Now] 

Housing trends that aren’t likely to go awayA full year of limited activity and more time spent in the house has inevitably influenced housing trends. Prominently, work from home has changed where people can buy homes, how companies plan to structure their offices in the future and what people now desire in their floorplans. Multi-generational living is also a rising trend as Americans live longer and longer and are more active than before. [Fox 5] 

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A frenzied spring and the next top markets 

Homebuyers are facing an extremely competitive spring marketThis spring is shaping up to be one of the most competitive housing markets in decades for the country. That’s thanks to record low inventory and rising home prices. Inventory at the end of February fell to 1.03 million units, about 30 percent below 2020’s numbers, representing a two-month supply of homes. Still, homebuyers have low mortgage rates on their side and it’s expected that homebuyer demand will remain strong. [KTLA 5]  

Sellers are key to a less frenzied marketToday’s frenzied market could cool down a little if more sellers start to list their properties amidst these record low inventory levels. According to a realtor.com survey, about 10 percent of current homeowners plan to list their homes this year. Of those homes, more than half are affordably priced. Additionally, 16 percent want to list their homes in the next couple of years. Generally, about eight percent of homeowners put their properties up for sale each year. Ten percent of homes would translate to about 1.5 million more homes. [Realtor.com] 

The top markets for 2021Realtor.com’s list of top 10 emerging housing markets for 2021 include Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Austin, Texas, Springfield, Ohio, and Billings, Montana. The markets represent a mix of higher-end, resort areas, smaller-but-growing cities and more affordable alternatives to larger urban areas. But, like the rest of the country, these markets don’t currently have enough homes to meet homebuyer demand. [Realtor.com] 

Will this color be everywhere in 2023? 

Digital lavender is the new it color (in a couple years, that is)While home builders aren’t likely to cover their latest homes in this shade, forecasters at WGSN and Coloro believe “digital lavender” will be the defining color of 2023. According to a Coloro rep, digital lavender exemplifies stability and serenity (a huge trend for colors this year), as well as digital escapism. [Architectural Digest] 

Innovation in roofing 

GAF will manufacture recycled asphalt shinglesThe roofing manufacturer GAF has patented a new process to recycle waste shingle material into a mix for new asphalt shingles. The manufacturer is investing more than $100 million to bring the technology to commercial sale. The innovation has the potential to reduce a significant waste stream as it incorporates material from post-consumer and post-manufacture waste which would have otherwise gone to a landfill. [Builder] 

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