A Minority of Home Buyers Expect House Search to Get Easier Soon


Only 21% of prospective home buyers (people planning a home purchase) expect that finding the right home to buy will get easier in the months ahead, according to NAHB’s Housing Trends Report for the third quarter 2019. That share is slightly better than the 19% who had the same expectation a year earlier. On the other hand, a majority of 68% expect housing availability to get harder or stay about the same, slightly lower than the 71% who shared that expectation a year earlier.

Analyzing results by generation shows that older buyers are more likely than younger buyers to expect worsening housing availability: 74% of Boomers have that expectation compared to 64% of Gen Z buyers. Geographically, at least two-thirds of buyers in every region expect their search for a home to get harder or stay the same.

Another way to explore buyers’ perceptions about the inventory of housing available in their markets is to ask how they see the number of for-sale homes (that they like and can afford) changing. In the third quarter of 2019, 29% of buyers reported seeing more such homes on the market compared to three months earlier, essentially unchanged from the 30% reporting increases a year earlier. Similarly, the share of buyers who perceive fewer or the same number of homes for-sale was 59%, not much different from 60% a year earlier.

The share of buyers who report seeing more homes they like and can afford available for-sale declines with age: from 41% of Gen Z, to 32% of Millennial, 23% of Gen X, and 18% of Boomer buyers. Regionally, buyers in the West are the most likely to report improving availability (36%), while those in the Midwest are the least likely (23%).

* 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 third quarter of 2019. See previous post on plans to buy.

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