Facts & Resources

Seattle Area Homebuyers Driven by Factors Other Than Finances to Purchase First Home

Inaugural Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report Reveals Buyers Prioritize Cost and Neighborhood When Purchasing a Home

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 9:00 am EDT


Seattle, Wash.

As peak homebuying season begins, more Seattle metro area first-time buyers are motivated by emotional factors (78 percent) than financial factors (69 percent) when making the decision to buy a home, according to the inaugural Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, released today. This is higher than any other local market surveyed. Specifically, 58 percent want a place to call their own, 54 percent cite owning a home as something they have always wanted to do, and 31 percent want a place to put down roots.

When considering a prospective home, cost (83 percent) and neighborhood (65 percent) are extremely important to Seattle area buyers. Fifty-three percent consider the floor plan and layout to be very important. Seventy-eight percent of homebuyers in Seattle are interested in buying a single-family home.

The Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report explores the attitudes, behaviors and preferences of the modern homebuyer, based on a national survey of more than 1,000 adults ages 18 and older who want to buy a home in the future. In addition, comparatively 300 adults were also surveyed in 10 local markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. The report reveals what homebuyers want in a home, their catalysts for making the home purchase and the unique preferences of first-time and millennial buyers, defined as those between ages 18 and 34.

Seattle-specific highlights from the report include:

Aspiring Seattle area homeowners want to save more, willing to sacrifice

  • More Seattle homebuyers who set aside savings for their home did so because they believe it will take a long time to save enough for a down payment (66 percent), compared to homebuyers nationally (50 percent) and any other market surveyed.

  • Seventy-one percent of local first-time buyers have not purchased a home before now because they did not think they could afford a home or the type of home they would like to buy, higher than the national average of 56 percent.

  • Nearly all (95 percent) first-time buyers in Seattle would be willing to make sacrifices to make homeownership a reality.

  • Seventy-seven percent of experienced Seattle homebuyers sacrificed something the last time they purchased a home.

  • Seventy-seven percent of local first-time buyers are looking for a home that they can grow into, rather than one that fits their needs today. This is consistent with first-time homebuyers nationally, as 75 percent say the same.

  • Seattle buyers define homeownership as a place where memories are made and kept (62 percent), family (62 percent), responsibility (61 percent), and security (57 percent).

Saving for a home as important as saving for retirement

  • Ninety-three percent of Seattle buyers consider saving for or paying off a home to be important. A similar number (88 percent) believe saving for retirement is important.

  • Understanding the importance of saving for a home, many local first-time buyers said they would appreciate help doing it: 80 percent would use a tool that withdraws money from their paycheck to save for a home purchase.

  • Thirty percent of experienced Seattle homebuyers spent more than what they budgeted on the total cost of their first home.

Local millennial homebuyers expect support from their parents

  • Sixty-four percent of millennial homebuyers in Seattle expect some kind of assistance from their parents when buying a home, ranging from financial support to assistance moving in.


For additional information about the Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, please click here.


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About the Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report
Braun Research, Inc. (an independent market research company) conducted a nationally representative, online survey on behalf of Bank of America January 27–February 21, 2016. Braun surveyed 1,001 respondents throughout the U.S., comprised of adults 18+ who want to buy a home in the future. In addition, comparatively 300 adults were also surveyed in 10 local markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Braun also interviewed a total of 801 millennials (defined as 18–34 years old) in the national U.S. sample. The n=801 millennials are comprised of n=376 completes that came from the main, national sample. The remaining n=425 were obtained from an oversample of additional millennials to achieve the total n of 801. The margin of error for the national quota is +/- 3.0 percent; about +/- 5.7 percent for the oversampled markets; and about +/-3.5 percent for the national millennial group, with each reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

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