Sales seemed to be in free fall, but now that they are creeping up, builders are already seeing a trend: Clients tend to be young, first-time buyers or growing families that are experiencing cabin fever, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. By knowing who will be a major demographic for home buying post-pandemic, builders can best prepare themselves for when demand fully recovers. These buyers want different things than the buyers of the past, desiring design features inspired by their extended time at home such as efficient square footage and flex space that can be used as a second office.
After four weeks of plunging new home sales, transactions have roughly doubled in the last two. The jump in demand has largely been driven by Sharers (31–40-year-olds), a term we developed in our book Big Shifts Ahead to describe the older millennials born in the 1980s. The buyers are mostly couples and individuals who:
- Have been wanting to buy for some time
- Are cooped up in a living situation they don’t like
- Have little fear of losing their job soon
- Are more focused on low payments than on future price appreciation
The headlines would have you think that few people are in that situation, but numerous builders confirmed during their earnings calls this week that they are seeing the opposite. While the size of this pent-up demand is hard to determine, here is where we see the opportunities for builders to target and adjust to the buyer: