Pandemic Has Changed Preferences for 25% of Home Buyers, Study Finds
remote working, virtual education play roles in what home buyers want
Continuing a long tradition to provide the most recent and accurate research on what home buyers want in their homes and communities, the National Association of Home Builders recently releasedWhat Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition. The study sheds light on the housing preferences of the typical home buyer, 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 with 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.
About 1 out of every 5 buyers want a larger home now as a direct result of the health crisis, while another segment –12% – would prefer a smaller one.
When asked more specifically how the pandemic may have impacted their preference for home size, a majority of home buyers – 67% – report no change at all. Yet a segment of buyers, 21% (about 1 out of every 5 buyers) want a larger home now as a direct result of the health crisis, while another segment –12% – would prefer a smaller one. From 2016 through 2019 the desired house size decreased with 2020 being the first year the trend plateaued, and it is anticipated that 2021 will show increased demand for larger homes.
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 due to 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. To learn more, visit nahb.org.