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Consumer Insights

Opendoor 2021 report: The hearts & minds behind today’s housing market

Reading Time — 5 minutes

June 23, 2021

By Kerry Melcher

Reading Time — 5 minutes

June 23, 2021

“I had no clue how I was going to move,” Jordan Jensen said. She needed to find a new home closer to her job in downtown Phoenix. “I work nights and have two dogs, so thinking about buying and selling a home seemed impossible.”

In the hottest real estate market in a generation, the national inventory of active listings declined by 50.9% over last year, leaving many sellers in a bind and asking the question, “How will I find my next home?”

With homes flying off the market at record pace, and fierce competition among buyers, everyone is talking about how difficult it is to buy or sell a home. But what is truly motivating Americans today and what do they fear most?

More than just a statistic, today’s home buyers and sellers told us their sentiments. We look beyond anecdotal evidence, and reveal exactly what’s behind the hearts and minds of consumers across generations, from Zillennials, the micro-generation born between 1993 and 1998, and Millennials to Generation X and Baby Boomers.

Dig into the data below to find out the predictions and predicaments of the housing market over the next 12 months.

Housing optimism on the horizon

There’s no doubt about it: we are in a seller’s market. With limited supply and skyrocketing demand, most Americans predict the current state of the market will continue. In fact, across generations, 71% believe the housing market will get even better for sellers, with most agreeing now is a good time to sell. This is especially true for Baby Boomers.

As more Americans get vaccinated and the pandemic begins to subside, 53% of respondents expect the available inventory on the market to increase. And most think the market will remain strong throughout the summer. Specifically, 47% of consumers predict the housing market will stay strong for another year and 30% think it will remain strong at least for a few more months.

And when it comes to buying a home right now, Millennials are the most bullish—likely contributing to the demand for housing. As the largest cohort of first-time home buyers, their appetite for buying may very well keep the market sizzling over the summer. Baby Boomers are on the opposite end of the spectrum with Generation X and Zillennials falling in the middle.

Looking ahead, buyer attitudes are split across generations. Half of Baby Boomers think the market will become more challenging for buyers and 25% think it will stay the same. While younger buyers, especially Millennials, are more optimistic again, with 64% expecting the market to get better for buyers.

Overcoming the homeowner’s dilemma

While many homeowners have reaped the benefits of today’s hot seller’s market, two-thirds of sellers are also buyers. And they too are feeling the stress of finding their next home, just like Jordan.

“I didn’t have enough cash on hand to put a downpayment on my next home while I waited for the current one to sell,” she shared.

Similar to Jordan, across generations, 32% of sellers said finding their next home is a top concern. And this is where Opendoor comes in. We enabled Jordan to sell, buy and finance all in one seamless process. She sold her current home directly to Opendoor, lining up closing dates with the new home sale and moved on her timeline.

Pandemic-related concerns seem to have subsided with only 17% of respondents worried about exposing themselves or their families to COVID-19 while selling their home. And when it comes to sellers’ needs, maximizing profit is the number one priority for most, with 32% agreeing across generations.

Investing time, energy and money

Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in a lifetime, and it has been one of the most popular ways to build wealth. But is 2021 the year sentiments change? We asked what people think about investing in housing versus other options.

Our data revealed some stark differences between younger and older cohorts. While most generations agree that buying a move-in ready home and putting money into a retirement plan is smart, Zillennials, Millennials and Generation X believe investing in cryptocurrency is another savvy decision.

Despite rising home prices, the vast majority of Americans (73%) agree that buying a home is a good investment right now. Baby Boomers are a little more cautious about home buying, with 57% agreeing, compared to 80% of Millennials, and 75% of Generation X. This could be due to the fact that the majority of Baby Boomers plan to age in place, rather than buy another home. And for those who plan to move, a 2020 Freddie Mac report found 71% say they plan to rent rather than buy their next home.

The real estate market can be competitive, stressful and intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Opendoor is here to help you navigate the process and remove the pain points from finding and financing your dream home to selling your current home. Find out more and get started here.

Kerry Melcher is Head of Real Estate for Opendoor.

Methodology: Opendoor analyzed data from 850 people across the U.S. planning to buy or sell in the next 12 months. The data was collected via Qualtrics in May 2021. For the purposes of this report, Zillennials are defined as ages 25-28, Millennials are defined as ages of 29-39, Generation X is defined as ages 40 to 55 and Baby Boomers are defined as ages 56 to 74.

Further reading

52 essential real estate terms you should know
The house closing process – what sellers need to know
Top improvements that increase home value based on market data