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Business Observer Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 3 years ago

DataSnapshot: What's in a name?

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Apparently, more than we could imagine.
by: Business Observer Staff Writer

Here's a new way to stay ahead of residential real estate trends: track the first names of buyers.

That quirky tidbit is the thesis behind a recent study from real estate information firm Attom Data Solutions. The analysis looked at 4 million sales of single-family homes in 2017, broken down by the first name of the buyer.

The results of the study, in part, show that millennials might be buying more houses than experts give them credit for. For example, the biggest increases in homes purchased in 2017 were by buyers with first names popular among millennials — Dylan, Chelsea, Austin, Alexandra and Taylor, to name some. Those names all spiked in popularity as baby names between 1992 and 1995, the report states, making them people in their mid-20s.

Dylan, the name du jour in 1992, jumped 41% for the moniker behind 2017 new home purchases, the report found. States where Dylan was the hottest homebuyer name in 2017 include Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas. The hottest home-buying first name in Florida in 2017, the report shows, was Cameron, up 64% year over year.

The biggest overall home-buying decreases, meanwhile, were from people with first names popular among Generation X, the pre-baby boomer Silent Generation and Greatest Generation, the report states. Take Jamie and Kristin, names that peaked in 1976. Homebuyers with the first name Kristin fell 18% on a national scale in 2017, while homebuyers with the first name Jaime dropped 16%. Names like Stanley, popular in World War I; Gerald, common right before World War II; and Kurt, which rose to prominence in 1966, all fell in new home purchases by at least 16% last year. In Florida, the biggest drop in new home purchases by first name came from the name Jimmy, with a 44% year-over-year drop.

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