Home Buyers’ Perceptions of Affordability Deteriorated Throughout 2021

According to the latest Housing Trends Report, home buyers’ affordability expectations deteriorated throughout 2021.  By the fourth quarter, the share of buyers who could afford less than half the homes available in their markets was at 76%.  That share had risen all year: from 63% in the final quarter of 2020, to 65% in the first quarter of 2021, 71% in the second, and 73% in the third.

Between the third and final quarter of 2021, affordability expectations worsened in the South and West, as the shares able to afford less than half the homes available rose from 76% to 81% and from 65% to 72%, respectively.  When measured between the final quarters of 2020 and 2021, however, buyers’ perceptions of affordability deteriorated in every region of the US.  Most notably, the share rose from 68% to 81% in the South during this period.

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 seasonally adjusted.  A description of the poll’s methodology and sample characteristics can be found here.  This is the fourth in a series of six posts highlighting results for the fourth quarter of 2021. See previous posts on plans to buy, new vs. existing preference, and housing availability.

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