Skip to Content

New Survey: With Rates & Inflation Falling, More Veterans Move Up their Homebuying Timelines

At a Glance

Nearly 40% of Veteran would-be buyers now plan to purchase a home in the next six months, up 10 percentage points from the third quarter, according to Veterans United Home Loans’ most recent Veteran Homebuyer Report, a quarterly national survey of Veterans, service members and civilians who intend to buy homes in the next three years.

With interest rates and inflation finally headed downward, more Veteran and military buyers are moving up their home purchasing timelines heading into 2024.

37% of Veteran would-be buyers now plan to purchase a home in the next six months, up 10 percentage points from the third quarter, according to Veterans United Home Loans’ most recent Veteran Homebuyer Report, a quarterly national survey of Veterans, service members and civilians who intend to buy homes in the next three years.

In all, 70% of prospective Veteran and military buyers plan to buy this year, up from 67% last quarter.

There’s also a growing belief among Veterans and service members that mortgage rates have hit their peak.

Half of all Veterans think rates will be the same or lower a year from now, with 21% saying they’ll be much or somewhat lower, up from 12% in the third quarter. And a growing number are optimistic that inflation will be lower a year from now.

“Veteran and military buyers are heading into 2024 with a lot of cautious optimism, based in no small part on declining mortgage rates and signs that inflation is getting closer to being under control,” said Chris Birk, vice president of mortgage insight at Veterans United. “There are still headwinds when it comes to rising home prices and overall home affordability, but the outlook for this year is bright, which is also reflected in Veterans’ attitudes and optimism about their overall financial health and future.”

Three big additional findings from this latest Veterans United survey:

Veterans’ Rising Financial Optimism

More Veterans are feeling better about their personal financial outlook, with 61% saying they’ll be better off financially in the coming year, compared to 56% in the third quarter.

A majority (52%) also say they’re better off now financially than they were a year ago – and more Veterans are parting with their money to prove it:

  • 45% of Veterans and service members said they’re spending more money now than they did a year ago, up from 37% in the third quarter
  • 30% of would-be buyers said they’re actively making large scale purchases, up from 24% in Q3
  • 51% of Veterans said they feel at ease about their finances, up from 48% last quarter

In what’s become an extended trend, Veterans also continue to feel much more optimistic than civilians when it comes to finances and their homebuying chances.

Veterans Feel Better Financially Than Civilians

This Veteran-civilian financial optimism gap that we uncovered in the second quarter remains strong heading into 2024.

Compared to civilians, Veterans are more at ease with finances, more optimistic about their financial future, and less stressed about their finances.

Compared to civilians, Veterans are more at ease with finances, more optimistic about their financial future, and less stressed about their finances.

Civilians are also more pessimistic about interest rates – 53% say they’ll be higher in a year, compared to 50% of Veterans.

Achieving the dream of homeownership also feels more doable for Veterans than for civilians right now. More than half (54%) of Veterans said buying a home feels within reach in Q4, compared to 47% of civilians.

Looking ahead, 70% of civilians said they plan to buy in the next year, down from 75% in Q3.

“The financial optimism gap between Veterans and civilians is carrying over into 2024 without question,” Birk said. “Higher home prices and interest rates remain homebuying barriers for all prospective buyers, but overcoming them and closing on a home loan continues to feel more achievable for Veterans and those who serve. Some of optimism is rooted in their access to the VA loan benefit, which helps make homebuying easier.”

More Pessimism About U.S. Economy

Veteran and military sentiment about the future of the national economy remained steady throughout 2023.

Most Veterans (61%) expect the economy to be much or somewhat better off over the next year, but that was down slightly (62%) from Q3.

Veteran and military sentiment about the future of the national economy remained steady throughout 2023.  Most Veterans (61%) expect the economy to be much or somewhat better off over the next year, but that was down slightly (62%) from Q3.

And while a growing minority of Veterans think inflation will be much or somewhat lower over the next year (18% in Q4 compared to 14% in Q4), most Veterans (55%) still expect inflation to rise over the next 12 months.

A growing minority of Veterans think inflation will be much or somewhat lower over the next year (18% in Q4 compared to 14% in Q4), most Veterans (55%) still expect inflation to rise over the next 12 months.

At the same time, 60% of Veterans expect average home prices in their area to be higher over the next year.

Despite some pessimism, most Veterans remain optimistic about homebuying and their personal financial trajectories. They also recognize that improvements like home price declines and inventory increases are likely to be slow moving.

Methodology

On behalf of Veterans United, data and research firm Sparketing conducted an online survey of about 900 Veterans, service members and civilians from late November through mid-December 2023.

We surveyed service members from both the active and Reserve components, as well as Veterans.

For the purpose of this survey, active duty military are full-time members of the Armed Forces. The Reserve component includes drilling National Guardsmen and Reservists. Veterans are military members who have been discharged or retired from the service and no longer serve in uniform.