22% of Home Buyers Expect House Search to Get Easier Soon


In the first quarter of 2019, adults planning a home purchase (i.e. prospective buyers) were asked about their expectations for housing availability in the near future. Results show that 22% expect the search for a home to become easier in the months ahead, an improvement over the 16% who had that same expectation a year earlier.  During this period, the share expecting availability to become harder or remain unchanged dropped from 73% to 67%.  More data will be necessary to determine a trend, but this finding may indicate buyers’ perceptions about the availability of homes for-sale may be shifting (slightly) in a positive direction.

Analyzing the data across generations shows that Millennials are the likeliest cohort to expect house hunting to become easier in the months ahead (23%), followed by Gen X’ers (22%), Seniors (20%), and lastly, Boomers (18%). Geographically, buyers in the Midwest (25%) and Northeast (23%) are the most likely to expect an easier home search process in the months to come.  These findings come from NAHB’s Housing Trends Report (HTR)* for the first quarter of 2019.

Another way to explore buyers’ perceptions about the inventory of housing available in their markets is to ask how the number of for-sale homes (that they like and can afford) is changing compared to three months earlier. In the first quarter of 2019, 30% of buyers reported seeing more such homes on the market, a slight improvement over the 26% reporting increases a year earlier.  Meanwhile, the share of buyers who perceive the inventory of for-sale homes they like and can afford to be lower or unchanged fell from 63% to 60% during this period.

Across generations, 30% of Millennials and 31% of Gen X buyers report seeing more homes they like and can afford on the market, compared to 27% of Boomers and 21% of Seniors. Regionally, at least 30% of buyers in every region, with the exception of the Northeast (26%), report better housing availability in the first quarter of 2019 than three months earlier.

* 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 second in a series of five posts highlighting results for the first quarter of 2019.  See previous post on plans to buy.

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