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February 2020

Latest Housing Trends Report has both good and bad news

February 6, 2020

NAHB logoThe share of adults who are considering purchasing a home in the next 12 months fell to 11% in the fourth quarter of 2019, down from 13% reported for the same period of year ago. That decline marked the fifth consecutive year-over-year drop in the number of Americans intending to buy a home in the upcoming year, according to the Housing Trends Report published by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

For the fourth quarter of 2017, nearly one-fourth of respondents (24%) indicated they planned to buy a home within the next year.  

NAHB suggested the declining trend is likely spurred by the low levels of housing inventory.

On a more positive note, researchers reported a significant uptick in the portion of prospective home buyers who are first-time buyers. The figure rose to 63% compared to the year-prior number of 53%. Researchers noted future polls will determine if first-time buyers will continue to grow as a share of those looking to purchase a home.

The Housing Trends Report showed wide differences among generations. Millennials are the most likely generation that plans to purchase a home within a year (19%), followed by Gen Z (13%) and Gen X (12%).  In contrast, only 5% of Boomers reported such plans.

A comparison of geographic regions showed 12% of respondents in both the South and West are prospective home buyers. That ratio was slightly ahead of the Northeast (10%) and Midwest (9%). More than 60% of prospective buyers in every region are buying a home for the first time.

Among prospective buyers in the first-time buyer segment, 88% of Gen Z and 78% of Millennial expressed intentions to purchase within the next 12 months. A majority of Gen X buyers (57%), while a much smaller segment of Boomers (20%), were among those who planned to buy a home for the first time.

Asked about the type of home they intended to buy, 40% of prospective purchases are looking to buy an existing home, while 19% were seeking new construction. The remaining 41% said they were open to buying either a newly-built or resale home.

NAHB's Housing Trends Report is produced quarterly to track changes in buyers' perceptions about the availability and affordability of homes for-sale in their market.