Expectations for Housing Availability See Slight Improvement

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According to the latest Housing Trends Report, 63% of prospective home buyers in the second quarter of 2020 expect housing availability to become harder or stay the same in the months ahead, while 25% expect it will actually be easier to find a home to buy. These results show buyers’ expectations for housing availability have improved slightly from a year earlier, when 67% expected their house search to turn more difficult and only 20% thought it would get easier.

The timing of the data collection for this report (June 16-28) is important, as results need to be interpreted in the larger context of the US economy and the trajectory of new case counts at the time. In June, the labor market showed signs of recovery, gaining 4.8 million jobs and a lower unemployment rate. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate continued to fall, reaching 3.13% by the last week of the month. The number of COVID cases nationally were stable through the first half of the month, only beginning their ascent around June 15.   For these reasons, we assess that responses in this quarter’s report reflect a period when workers were returning to their jobs, mortgage rates looked increasingly attractive, and the pace of new cases had only recently started to regain speed.

Across generations, expectations that housing availability will worsen or stay the same are highest among Boomers (70%), followed by Millennials (64%) and Gen Z buyers (62%). Geographically, at least 60% of buyers in every region expect that finding a home will become harder or stay the same in the months ahead.

In terms of the actual number of homes buyers are seeing for-sale (that they like and can afford), 57% report seeing fewer or the same number available than three months earlier, whereas 29% report seeing more of such inventory.

A majority of buyers in every generation report seeing fewer/same number of homes for-sale than three months earlier, led by Boomers (62%) and Gen X buyers (61%). Regionally, buyers in the West are the most likely to report seeing fewer/same number of homes for-sale (60%), followed by those in the Northeast and South (both 56%) and the Midwest (53%).

* Homes with desired features and price point.

The Housing Trends Report is a research product created by the NAHB Economics team with the goal of measuring prospective home buyers’ perceptions about the availability and affordability of homes for-sale in their markets. The HTR is produced quarterly to track changes in buyers’ perceptions over time. All data are derived from national polls of representative samples of American adults conducted for NAHB by Morning Consult. Results are not seasonally adjusted due to the short-time horizon of the series, and therefore only year-over-year comparisons are statistically valid. A description of the poll’s methodology and sample characteristics can be found here. This is the second in a series of five posts highlighting results for the second quarter of 2020. See previous post on plans to buy.



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