Wednesday, April 28, 2021

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 1st Quarter 2021

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, first quarter 2021: 48.2%

Homeownership rates in the first quarter of 2021 continue to fall from the stratospheric heights reached in 2020—when the coronavirus pandemic greatly reduced the response rate to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) and consequently distorted homeownership trends. The ongoing downward shift means that householders aged 30 to 34 are still falling short of the honorary First-Time Homebuyer title.   

The overall homeownership rate in the first quarter of 2021 was 65.6 percent, not significantly different from the 65.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. The homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds (the age group in which householders typically buy their first home) fell by a full percentage point between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Except for the 50.1 percent blip in the third quarter of 2020, the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds has been below 50 percent in every quarter since the second quarter of 2011—the aftermath of the Great Recession. Until 2011, the age group's homeownership rate had never been below 50 percent in the data series that goes back to 1982. 

Yes, it may be a seller's market in the housing industry right now, but the demand for housing is not translating into noticeably higher homeownership rates in any age group. The seller's market is a consequence of the pandemic-related shortage of houses for sale.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

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