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The realities of first-time homebuying right now

Reading Time — 3 minutes

March 5, 2024

By Nicholas Boniakowski

New homeowners moving into their home.

Reading Time — 3 minutes

March 5, 2024

After years of housing market volatility, first-time homebuyers find themselves in somewhat of a limbo: They’re watching mortgage rates and home price predictions fluctuate as sellers remain on the sidelines — at least, for now. But as always, the desire for homeownership remains steady. We surveyed recent first-time buyers to understand what’s motivating them, and how they’re getting creative to make homeownership a reality. Despite a number of pressures, they remain resilient — whether buying with a significant other, platonic partner, or on their own.

Co-buying with non-romantic partners includes parents, friends, and more

Co-buying is a home purchase with someone else, whether a significant other, friend, family member, or someone else. As a practice, co-buying with platonic partners continues: More than 3 in 4 first-time buyers bought their home with someone else in 2023, including parents, siblings, friends, and even colleagues.

Co-buying has evolved to include platonic partners.

Hurdles and compromises are inevitable

For those intent on making that first-time purchase, making compromises with sellers — as well as with their own expectations — is the new reality. For the vast majority of first-time homebuyers (88%) making compromises is part of the process. Most often, these compromises are value-related: According to our survey, 43% of respondents who made compromises paid more for their home than they wanted.

First-time home shoppers are facing hurdles.

And it's not just compromises: First-time home shoppers are also delaying their purchases given a number of obstacles.

The reasons why first-time home shoppers delay their purchase.

Buyers tour 23 homes on average

Despite economic uncertainties, first-time homebuyers are resilient in their quest to find the right home. This means touring houses — a lot of them. Our data showed that:

  • First-time buyers view a lot of homes. In 2023, they toured 23 homes on average, either virtually or in-person.

  • Gen Z might be more skeptical than their generational counterparts. This group toured an average 32 homes, suggesting that Gen Z might be experiencing “home tour burnout”.

Buyers’ remorse is still in play too, so it’s important to be thorough, ask the questions you might not be able to determine from the house listing alone and stay observant during an open house.

A year of evolution ahead

The 2024 market will also see some degree of pent-up demand. Buyers remain motivated to find the right home. If mortgage rates decrease significantly, they can expect a rise in competition for those homes.

What's driving first-time home shoppers to make the purchase.

At the end of the day, buying a home is first and foremost a life decision. The best time to move is always when it’s right for you, whether it involves a new job, relationship, or just a fresh start. When you’re ready to make your move, Opendoor is here to help. Head to Opendoor.com to learn more.

Want to read the full report? Download here.

Nick Boniakowsi is the Head of Agent Partnerships at Opendoor.

Methodology: The First-Time Homebuyer Report was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative first-time US Homebuyers using an email invitation and an online survey. "Homebuyers" are defined as those who purchased their first home in the past 12 months, between January 2023 and December 2023. Data has been weighted to facilitate tracking.