The economic tumult generated by the COVID-19 pandemic isn't slowing the pursuit of homeownership according to the National Association of Homebuilders’ (NAHB) Housing Trends Report covering the second quarter of this year.
The new report, which polled 19,800 adults between June 16–28, found 11% of respondents considering a future home purchase. Within that percentage, 49% stated they were actively engaged in the homebuying process, up from a 41% share one year earlier.
Among the millennials within the respondent base, 57% said they were already actively searching for a home. In comparison, only 37% of baby boomers said they were currently looking for residential property. On a regional measurement, there was a higher percentage of prospective buyers in the Northeast (57%) versus the South (50%), West (45%), and Midwest (44%).
During the second quarter of this year, 59% of the buyers actively engaged in the purchase process said they spent three months or more looking for a property to buy, compared to 55% one year earlier. The second quarter marked the sixth consecutive year-over-year gain in the share of active buyers that allocated three months or more in search of a home to buy.
“The timing of the data collection for this report is important, as results need to be interpreted in the larger context of the US economy and the trajectory of new case counts at the time,” said Rose Quint, AVP for Survey Research at the NAHB. “In June, the labor market showed signs of recovery, gaining 4.8 million jobs and a lower unemployment rate. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate continued to fall, reaching 3.13% by the last week of the month. The number of COVID cases nationally were stable through the first half of the month, only beginning their ascent around June 15.”
Quint added that the input from respondents to the survey reflected “a period when workers were returning to their jobs, mortgage rates looked increasingly attractive, and the pace of new cases had only recently started to regain speed.”
But what happens if the house hunt turns up empty? The NAHB survey found 19% of active buyers who failed to buy a home will give up on their search until next year or later—an increase from the 16% share recorded one year ago. When asked what they’ll do next if still unable to find a home in the next few months, roughly of the active buyers said they would continue looking in their preferred location, while 37% said they will expand their search area, 21% would accept a smaller or older home, and 19% would opt to buy a more expensive home.