Home Prices Discourage a Growing Segment of Prospective Buyers

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The share of prospective buyers actively trying to find a home fell in both the third (57%) and fourth quarters (52%) of 2021, after reaching a series high of 61% in the second quarter of the year.  The downward trend demonstrates how falling levels of housing affordability have discouraged a growing share of potential home buyers from actively engaging in the purchase process.

The share of buyers actively searching for a home to buy declined in all regions of the country between the third and final quarter of 2021.  The drop was most notable in the South, where it fell from 51% to 42%.

Active buyers continue to spend longer periods of time searching for a home.  At the start of 2018, 52% had spent 3+ months searching for a home.  During the first three quarters of 2021, that share was 66%.  By the fourth quarter, it had edged up to 67%.

* 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 fifth 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, housing availability, and housing affordability.



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1 reply

  1. While rising prices do impact affordability, I believe the threat of higher mortgage interest rates due to the out of control inflation bears increasing responsibility. As prices have moved to unparalleled highs, the typical buyer has become much more financially astute and many recognize that current buildout time for a new home potentially exposes them to higher mortgage interest rates.

    Builders can do little about their costs but they certainly can do something about mirtgage interest rates. In the past astute builders have actually enjoyed greater sales volume and increased market share.

    Builders who do not have experience in dealing with the challenges of selling and, more importantly, protecting their backlog in a high interest rate environment should seek out someone who does.

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