According to the latest What Home Buyers Really Want*, 60% of home buyers would prefer a newly-built home over an existing home. In other words, all else equal, their first preference would be to purchase a new home.

Looking at historical data shows a clear shift in preferences towards new construction in 2020. The share of buyers who would have preferred to buy a new home last year (60%) was six points higher than in 2018 (54%) and the highest in this series since 2007 (63%).

Some of the most important factors contributing to the rising desirability of new homes in 2020 include:

  • New homes have the features buyers want today
  • Buyers are concerned about touring occupied existing homes during the COVID-19 era
  • New homes are more likely to be located where a growing segment of buyers wants to live: the outlying suburbs (read more on that here).

Across generations, Gen X buyers are the most likely to prefer a newly-built home (68%), ahead of both Millennials (65%) and Baby Boomers (55%).



Note: New homes in this post refer to both homes built for-sale (including the land) as well as homes custom-built on the buyer’s land.

What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition sheds light on the housing preferences of the typical home buyer, but also on how those preferences change over time, and how they may vary based on demographic factors such as age, income, and geography. The study is based on a comprehensive, nationwide survey of 3,247 recent and prospective home buyers conducted in the summer of 2020. For a complete article summarizing the most important findings, please click here. —BY