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Demand for Homeownership Strengthens Year over Year

More Americans now indicate they are actively trying to buy a home than compared to a year ago, says the National Association of Home Builders. These efforts, however, are slowed down by escalating bids from other buyers and challenges finding homes they can afford, according to survey results from NAHB's most recent Housing Trends Report.

"The value of homeownership has never been greater as evidenced by the increase in active buyers this year," says Chuck Fowke, NAHB chairman. "Home builders are eager to meet this demand, but are hamstrung by high lumber costs. Policymakers must seek out solutions to resolve the lumber price problem to help more families achieve the American Dream." 

Millennials are the most likely generation to have moved on from just planning a home purchase to actively searching for a home to buy: 73 percent of this generation's prospective buyers were already active buyers in the first quarter of 2021, up from 54 percent a year earlier. Several factors are driving this trend, including the fear of missing out on still relatively low mortgage rates, desire for more space due to COVID-19 and the desire to move out to outlying suburbs. 

Geographically, larger shares of prospective buyers in every region are actively trying to find a home to buy compared to a year ago, but the increase is most notable in the Northeast (56 percent to 74 percent) and in the West (51 percent to 69 percent).

As the share of prospective buyers actively searching for a home continues to increase, the length of time spent searching continues to grow. In the first quarter of 2021, 64 percent of buyers actively engaged in the purchase process have spent three months or longer looking, compared to 56 percent a year earlier. This marks the ninth consecutive year-over-year gain in the share of active buyers looking for three-plus months for a home to buy. 

See the Full Housing Trends Report