Home Buyers’ Perceptions on Affordability Are Largely Unchanged


In addition to analyzing buyers’ perceptions about housing availability, the quarterly Housing Trends Report (HTR) also explores perceptions about housing affordability. The poll asks prospective home buyers to estimate the share of homes available in their markets they believe they can afford. In the final quarter of 2018, three out of every four buyers (76%) estimate they can afford fewer than half the homes for-sale in their markets.  That share is lower – although not by much – than the 79% of buyers who shared that perception a year earlier.

On the other hand, 23% feel they could buy the majority of homes for-sale in their markets, just barely ahead of the 21% who had that view in the final quarter of 2017. One way to summarize these results is that in the year ended in the fourth quarter of 2018, there was not a lot of change in how home buyers perceived their ability to afford homes available in their markets.

Affordability is an issue for all age groups: 75% to 78% of buyers in each generation can afford fewer than half the homes available in their markets.

What Share of all Homes Currently For-Sale in Your Market is Affordable to You?
(Percent of Prospective Home Buyers)

Share Who Can Afford Fewer than Half the Homes
For-Sale By Generation
(Percent of Prospective Home Buyers)

The Housing Trends Report (HTR) 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 third in a series of five posts highlighting results for the fourth quarter of 2018. See previous posts on plans to buy and housing availability.

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