NAHB Releases What Home Buyers Really Want, Study Shows COVID-19 Impacts

Continuing a long tradition to provide the most recent and accurate research on what home buyers want in their homes and communities, NAHB recently released What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition*. The study sheds light on the housing preferences of the typical home buyer, but also on how those preferences change over time, and how they may vary based on demographic factors such as age, income, and geography.

When asked if COVID-19 has had an impact on what they want in a home or community, 67% of home buyers report the pandemic has not impacted their housing preferences in any way, but 25% do acknowledge their preferences have been affected. Another 8% are not sure.

Cross-sectional analysis shows that the propensity to have been impacted is not the same across different groups of buyers. For example, among buyers where there are no teleworkers or virtual students in the home, only 9% say the virus has impacted their housing preferences. At the other end of the spectrum, 43% of buyers with at least one teleworker and one virtual student report the virus has had an impact.

When asked more specifically how the pandemic may have impacted their preference for home size, a majority of home buyers –67%– report no change on that at all. Yet a segment of buyers, 21% or about 1 out of every 5 buyers, do want a larger home now as a direct result of the health crisis, while another segment –12%– would prefer a smaller one instead.

Once again, the presence of teleworkers and virtual students in the home makes a big difference. Among buyers with neither, 10% want a larger home as a result of COVID-19, compared to 35% among buyers where there is at least one teleworker and one virtual student in the home.

*What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition is based on a comprehensive, nationwide survey of 3,247 recent and prospective home buyers conducted in the summer of 2020. For a complete article summarizing the most important findings, please click here.

This post was originally published on NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog, where NAHB’s economists discuss the latest housing data and policy.

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