How to reach America’s first-time home buyers
April 25th, 2023, YouGov

How to reach America’s first-time home buyers

2023 saw the percentage of Americans aiming to buy their first home in the next 12 months slide from 4.5% to 3.7% - a decline that may have been prompted by rising interest rates. A new YouGov Audience Analysis report explores this audience and reveals much about its demographic makeup, its preferences – and the brands that are ideally placed to win its affections.

Logically enough, it’s a group that tends to skew younger: 55% (vs. 30% of the nation) are aged 18-34, with 45% aged 35 or older. Given the magnitude of the purchase, it’s also not particularly surprising that it’s a group with deeper pockets: some 30% say they have over $2,501 in monthly disposable income (compared to 18% of the general public), while 20% say they have between $1,001 - $2,500 available (vs. 17%). Two-thirds of this group say they are better off now compared to a year ago, next to half of the general population (67% vs. 49%).

This higher income doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a lot in savings: 61% have less than $5,000 available to them, while 28% have less than $100 in savings. This could make making a down payment on a house rather tricky.

How first-time buyers browse for properties

Our data shows that first-time buyers are most likely to search for properties online to at least some extent. Half mostly browse online (52%), with a fifth (20%) saying they’re equally likely to browse online and offline, and just 9% saying they mostly browse offline. So if you’re targeting first-time buyers, a digital-first strategy may be wise. While that’s something which will not come as a big surprise to most realtors today, our data also identifies where online to find these prospective buyers.

Looking at their preferred social networks, they’re more likely to use YouTube (67% vs. 57%), Instagram (66% vs. 51%), Snapchat (43% vs. 27%) , Twitter (47% vs. 40%), and TikTok (44% vs. 31%) than the general public – so concentrating efforts on these platforms could also be a shrewd marketing tactic.

Which brands are first-time buyers most likely to consider?

Looking at the top mortgage lenders America’s first-time buyers are likely to consider, Bank of America ranks a comfortable first – with 25.3% of those who are aware of the brand willing to consider it when it comes to signing a mortgage agreement. It’s the second year in a row that the brand has earned the top spot.

Chase Bank ranks second – and, having changed two places in the rankings, is clearly rising in first-time buyers’ esteem with 20.6%. Rocket Mortgage have dropped a place, but with 17.6% of aware consumers considering the brand they have still done enough to earn third place. Wells Fargo are hot on their heels with 17.3%, and Quicken Loans are a little further off in fifth (14.4%).

Looking past the highest scores alone, “most improved” among first-time buyers goes to PennyMac, which rose five spots in the rankings to break the top ten (6.6%). Freedom Mortgage rose four places with a score of 7.0% to claim eighth place.

The above represents just a fraction of the data in the report. You can find much more insight into first-time buyers in the full report here.