Advertiser Disclosure

At Insurify, our goal is to help customers compare insurance products and find the best policy for them. We strive to provide open, honest, and unbiased information about the insurance products and services we review. Our hard-working team of data analysts, insurance experts, insurance agents, editors and writers, has put in thousands of hours of research to create the content found on our site.

We do receive compensation when a sale or referral occurs from many of the insurance providers and marketing partners on our site. That may impact which products we display and where they appear on our site. But it does not influence our meticulously researched editorial content, what we write about, or any reviews or recommendations we may make. We do not guarantee favorable reviews or any coverage at all in exchange for compensation.

Why you can trust Insurify: As an independent agent and insurance comparison website, Insurify makes money through commissions from insurance companies. However, our expert insurance writers and editors operate independently of our insurance partners. Learn more.


Homeownership used to be an achievable signifier of having reached the American Dream. Today, it’s more of a luxury, out of reach for many Americans. Supply and demand—the most foundational tenet of economics—is the simplest explanation of why the 2020 coronavirus pandemic triggered an unbelievable spike in the national real estate market. After an initial drop in the market at the start of the pandemic, Americans fled cities to more spacious suburbs, resulting in a shortage in supply and a spike in prices. As the effects of the pandemic on real estate started to become more apparent, Insurify conducted a survey of American homebuyers in 2021 to better understand the trends and effects of the past year’s roller-coaster market and what they indicate about the future of home-buying. Here’s what we found.


Insurify conducted an online survey of 1,000 Americans who were currently or recently involved in the home buying process. The survey was fielded using a market research tool on July 27, 2021.

Respondent Profile

The findings of this survey come from a wide array of Americans across the geographical and socioeconomic spectrum. Here are their demographics.

  • Respondents skewed slightly Female (55 percent) compared to Male (45 percent)

  • A fifth of respondents reported an annual household income of over $150,000, or income level 7 (20 percent).

  • Most respondents were between the ages of 35 to 44 (37 percent)

  • Respondents came from all around the nation, with the most representing the South (36 percent). Others responded from the West (16 percent), the Southwest (1 percent), the Midwest (19 percent) , and the Northeast (20 percent).

Compare Home Insurance Quotes Instantly

  • Personalized quotes in 5 minutes or less
  • No signup required

Homeownership Status

Key Findings:

  • The highest percentages of first-time homebuyers were in the 18–24 and 25-34 age groups (78 and 71 percent first-time homebuyers, respectively).

  • Interestingly, across all income levels, the proportion of previous and first-time homeowners was similar.

What were your original motivations for purchasing or wanting to purchase a home?

Key Findings:

Most respondents cited similar reasons for why they initially sought to purchase a home of their own.

  • The appeal of a new location (44 percent ) and the cost of living in a new location (42 percent ) were the most common reasons selected.

  • COVID-19 (34 percent) is another commonly-cited motivation for purchasing a home.

  • Comparatively, more traditional life-changing events, such as marriage, divorce, and having children, played a more minor role in the decision-making process.

In your recent or prospective home purchase, did you move into or out of a city?

Key Findings:

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, people fled cities in search of more space to spread out while in quarantine.

  • The most significant proportion of respondents reported moving from a city to a suburb (30 percent) and from one city to another (29 percent). This could be correlated to the cost of living motivator in the previous question, where people were looking for more affordable housing in different cities or suburbs.

  • The move from suburb to the city was highest among 18- to 24-year-olds, with 26 percent of respondents moving in that direction.

  • Moving out of the city was highest among older groups; about 31 percent of those 25 and older who moved did so from the city to a suburb.

  • First-time homeowners were the majority of those who moved out of the city (30 percent), while those who had previously owned a home tended to stay in the city or the suburbs, wherever they previously were.

  • High-income individuals and families took COVID as a reason to move between cities or to leave them altogether for the suburbs.

What percentage are you going to/did you put down on your home?

Key Findings:

  • Across all age groups, an 11–20 percent down payment was the most common (36 percent).

  • The second-highest percentage for homebuyers over the age of 54 was 0–10 percent down, at 26 percent of respondents in that group. The reason for this could be the incredibly low interest rates offered because of the pandemic.

In your recent or prospective move, did you/will you be moving to a different state or staying in your current state?

Key Findings:

While most respondents reported staying in their current states, a significant portion moved states.

  • Respondents age 45 to 54 were more likely to move states (53 percent). Other age groups were more likely to stay.

  • Higher-income families moved states at a much higher rate than both middle-income and lower-income households. One possible reason for this could be that white-collar workers had a much easier time working remotely due to COVID-19 than people with lower-wage jobs.

  • First-time homeowners were also more likely than previous homeowners to move states (48 percent). This could be due to first-time homeowners’ willingness to relocate possibly for more affordable housing options.

Did you or would you be willing to buy a house if you had only seen it virtually, not in person?

Key Findings:

The survey’s most surprising finding was that the vast majority of respondents either would be willing to or did purchase a home sight unseen, having viewed it only virtually (65 percent). This was certainly a symptom of the pandemic but still a shocking turn from what was previously considered normal.

  • Older home seekers were much less willing to buy a house they had viewed only virtually.

  • Lower-income home seekers were much less likely to buy a home they had toured only online, while high-income seekers were much more willing to do so.

  • Those who had previously owned a home were also less likely to view a home after seeing it only virtually.

The competitiveness of the market has made it necessary for buyers to act incredibly fast. Unconventional, yes, but it seems that the convenience and ease of online open houses could be here to stay, even after the effects of the pandemic pass.

How many houses did you tour before making your first offer?

Key Findings:

With the unpredictability of the housing market, homebuyers reported viewing a small number of homes before making their first offers.

  • The average number of homes toured across all demographic brackets was 1–4 (43 percent). This may be due to the competitive market and speed with which houses are being sold.

  • Just three years ago in 2018, the average buyer v isited 10 homes over 10 weeks before making their first offer. The drop in the number of houses toured before making an offer is indicative of the brutality of the current market, which does not allow for buyer pickiness.

How would you describe your home-buying experience?

Key Findings:

  • Despite the competitive market, just one-fifth of respondents reported finding the home-buying process more challenging than they initially expected.

  • Higher- and medium-income earners found the process easier than expected, while low-income earners found it harder than expected. The media buzz around home-buying may have inflated higher-income homebuyers’ expectations of difficulty. Thus, they were left pleasantly surprised when the process went smoother than expected.

  • With more flexibility in their budgets, higher-income home seekers likely had an easier time finding a home to fit their needs and budgets.

  • Interestingly, previous homeowners found it harder than expected compared to first-time homebuyers. The previous owners may have purchased homes in a market less volatile than today.

How many months did it take to purchase a home, from your first tour (of any house) to closing?

Key Findings:

  • The majority of homebuyers (73 percent) reported finishing the entire home-buying process in nine months or less.

  • Still, a significant portion of respondents (27 percent) said the process took them 10 or more months to complete— that’s 42 weeks. This figure is up from an average of 10 weeks in 2018 and just 7 weeks in 2001.

Did you recently purchase a house?

Key Findings:

  • Although all respondents reported they were in the market for a new home or had recently purchased one, 37 percent still hadn’t been successful in their search. We dug into the reasons why.

What barriers do you think are holding you back from purchasing a home?

Key Findings:

Survey respondents cited various barriers preventing them from being successful with their home-buying efforts.

  • The most commonly reported barrier was home prices are too high (52 percent).

  • Respondents reported that cash for a down payment (42 percent) and cost of living in desirable areas (31 percent) were also putting homeownership out of reach.

  • The competitive market is making finding a home within a budget that meets the needs and desires of the buyer nearly impossible (44 percent).

  • Even still, of the 37 percent of respondents who reported that they had not yet been successful in their home-buying journey, optimism remained, regardless of these barriers.

If you recently purchased or attempted to purchase a home, how many offers did you make before one was accepted?

Key Findings:

  • The majority of respondents made more than one offer before a seller accepted one, indicating a competitive market, with nearly half of all respondents making two or more offers before acceptance.

  • Across most age and income brackets, the average number of offers was 2–5 (40 percent) before one was accepted.

  • C onsistent with inflation trends, if the current value of money has less purchasing power, then it makes sense that a homebuyer with less income could, for the most part, be priced out of the buying market.

If you sold your previous house, were you able to get more than expected because of increased demand?

Key Findings:

  • 33 percent of respondents reported not selling their previous house.

  • Of the more than 50 percent of respondents who reported selling their previous homes received the asking price or more. This could be related to the fact that a significant number of homebuyers’ first offers are not accepted, considering the competition and portion of buyers willing to offer above the asking price for any given home.


Home-buying trends have changed dramatically over the past few years. Some changes were due to the challenges presented by COVID-19, but others are a result of the changing needs and expectations of buyers. Buyers are willing to purchase houses after touring them only virtually and forgo inspections to beat out competitors. Low interest rates have made borrowing money easier, opening opportunities for some buyers, but intense competition is driving up prices across the country. Despite some homebuyers being shut out of the market, optimism remains high. But buyers must remain patient and expect the process to take longer than it used to. The seller’s market remains intact, as many Americans hold off on their home-buying dreams.

About Insurify

Insurify is America’s top insurance quote comparison marketplace, offering users comparison tools for home, auto, pet, life, and health insurance. Insurify is on a mission to empower consumers to take control of their purchase decisions by breaking down confusing jargon and presenting all the options available. Insurify’s interface makes insurance shopping simple, affordable, and hassle-free.

Compare Home Insurance Quotes Instantly

  • Personalized quotes in 5 minutes or less
  • No signup required
Jackie Cohen
Jackie CohenEditorial Manager

Jackie Cohen is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in property & casualty insurance educational content. She has years of experience analyzing insurance trends and helping consumers better understand their insurance coverage to make informed decisions about their finances.

Jackie's work has been cited in USA Today, The Balance, and The Washington Times.