More Buyers Expect House Search Will Get Easier in Months Ahead

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In the first quarter of 2021, more prospective home buyers (33%) expect that finding the right home will get easier in the months ahead than did a year earlier (25%), according to the latest Housing Trends Report. A majority of buyers (61%), however, still expect the house search will become harder or stay about the same in the near future, essentially unchanged from a year earlier (62%). The improvement in some buyers’ perceptions about the availability of homes reflects the fact that more new and existing homes were sold in the first quarter of 2021 than in the same period in 2020.

The share of Millennial buyers who expect housing availability to ease up in the months ahead rose decisively between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021, from 26% to 42%. In contrast, the share declined slightly among the other generations.

Geographically, expectations that housing availability will ease up jumped up significantly in the Northeast (25% to 44%) and more moderately in the West (27% to 38%), while changing little in the Midwest and South.

In terms of the actual number of homes buyers are seeing for-sale (that they like and can afford), 40% reported seeing more available in the first quarter of 2021 than the previous quarter, up from 31% a year earlier. The improvement in buyers’ perceptions on inventory also reflects the fact that new home production was stronger in Qtr1’21 than in Qtr1’20.

Tracking earlier results, Millennial buyers were the most likely to report seeing more homes for-sale in the market in the first quarter of 2021, at 46%, compared to 34% a year earlier. The share also rose among Gen Z and Gen X buyers, but much more moderately.

Likewise, across regions, the share of buyers seeing more homes for sale jumped significantly in the Northeast (30% to 50%) and the West (33% to 46%). Growth was more tepid in the Midwest.

* 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 third in a series of six posts highlighting results for the first quarter of 2021. See previous posts on plans to buy and new vs. existing preference.



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