Improved Expectations of Housing Availability among Home Buyers


In the final quarter of 2019, home buyers are less likely (65%) to think housing availability will get harder (or stay the same) than in the final quarter of 2018 (72%).  Put another way, fewer home buyers expect housing availability to worsen.  On the contrary, the share of optimistic buyers expecting an easier home search process in the months ahead rose to 23% in the final quarter of 2019, up from 19% during the same quarter in 2018.  These results come NAHB’s latest Housing Trends Report.

Across generations, expectations that housing availability will ease are highest among Gen Z buyers (27%) and decline slightly with age:  Millennials (24%), Gen X (23%), and Boomers (18%).  Geographically, over 20% of buyers in every region expect that finding a home will become easier in the months ahead.

Yet despite this uptick in positive expectations for housing availability in the future, the share of buyers actually seeing an improvement in the number of homes for-sale (that they like and can afford) did not increase in the year ended in the last quarter of 2019, staying flat at just 27%.  In fact, on a year-over-year basis, the share of buyers reporting more inventory has declined or remained unchanged for the last three quarters.  This finding suggests that while home buyers’ optimism for improved availability has risen lately, it has not been met by an actual increase in the housing stock available for-sale.

Across generations, 30% of Gen Z and Millennial buyers and 28% of Gen X’ers report seeing more homes they like and can afford available for-sale than three months earlier, compared to a relatively lower 21% among Boomer buyers.  Regionally, buyers in the Midwest are the most likely to report improving availability (33%), while those in the Northeast are the least likely (22%).

* Homes with desired features and price point.

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

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