A homebuyer report from Bank of America shows that 51% of young homebuyers aged 18 to 43 value community and friendly neighbors when deciding whether or not to pull the trigger on a new home.
Also in the survey, which polled 2,000 adult homeowners and prospective homebuyers, just 33% of older generations (defined as ages 57 to 75) said community had become more important over the past year.
“Along with a desire for more space and smart home technology, individuals are looking for a sense of connectedness and belonging when it comes to where they live,” said AJ Barkley, senior vice president of neighborhood lending at Bank of America. “Over the last year, people have had plenty of time at home to reassess their priorities and goals, including how their living space and surroundings fit into their lives. We know homeownership remains as important as ever, especially for young homeowners and younger generations looking for that sense of community.”
Roughly 42% of homeowners said they like their neighbors and neighborhood more now than they did a year ago, against only 29% of non-homeowners. And 68% of younger prospective homebuyers and 75% of young homeowners said safety and security have become greater priorities when choosing where they will live.
With the COVID-19 pandemic normalizing work-from-home jobs throughout the country, homeowners are realizing they can live anywhere — so long as there is an internet connection. Space has become precious to movers. Barkley said that 48% of prospective homebuyers between the ages of 18 and 43 say the importance of square footage in a new home has increased for them and their families, and 60% say outdoor space is also more important to them now.
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In the past 12 months, housing markets across the country have seen a heavy influx of new homebuyers as well as existing owners looking to renovate or add square footage.
“The need for space has also traditionally meant a move to the suburbs,” Barkley said. “While 42% of younger prospective buyers currently live in cities, only 24% want to own a home there. Forty-eight percent want to buy in the suburbs and 29% want to buy in rural areas. This is an increase from last summer, when only 18% indicated a desire to purchase a home in a rural area.”
Nearly two-thirds of younger homeowners say their financial security has remained stable, compared to 51% of non-homeowners in the same age group, Bank of America reported. And 87% of prospective young homebuyers say saving to purchase a home is a priority, while 19% said they are accelerating their homebuying timelines.
“It’s no surprise that 18- to 43-year-old prospective buyers are eager to swap unpredictable monthly rents with steady monthly mortgage payments,” Barkley said. “Nearly half — 46% — said that building equity is now more important than ever. They recognize that homeownership is a way to build long-term stability.”