Hannah Strasser’s home in Indiana. Having a backyard was important in her home-buying decision. Hannah Strasser

What do Hannah, Austin, Alexis, Logan and Taylor have in common? They were the top five names associated with the fastest levels of home sales growth in 2018.

The number crunchers at realtor.com studied deed records to come up with a core set of homebuyer names. The deeper they dove, they learned the amount of homes sold to Millennial buyers with the aforementioned names increased 19% to 23% last year compared with 2017.

“Without being super clinical, we took a lot of those sales and turned names into groups of buyers,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research at realtor.com. “Then we looked at which buyers were groups growing faster than others, and that’s what gave birth to that list of names.”

Millennial names are identified as those peaking between 1981 and 1997; Gen-X names, 1965 to 1980; Boomer names, 1946 to 1964; and Silent Generation names before 1946.

Michael, John, David, James and Robert were the top five names by sales volume in 2018, but they all saw 3% to 5% declines over 2017.

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By connecting the Social Security Administration’s data on name demographics to property deed buyer information, realtor.com researchers were able to examine how younger age groups are increasingly becoming a force in the housing market.

Homeownership rates for buyers under 35 reached an estimated 36.8% in the third quarter of 2018, higher than a year earlier, and likely the highest in five years, according to the latest Census Bureau report on residential vacancies and homeownership.

Vivas says that despite higher housing costs, younger buyers continue to expand their footprint in the housing market by choice or necessity.

“They are entering that stage of life where it’s more about they must have that house as opposed to it would be nice to have that house,” he explains.

Millennials also are benefiting from a strong U.S. economy and are more willing to commit to homeownership.

“They are really leaning into the fact that qualifying…