Buyers’ Perceptions of Housing Availability Fall Back to 2018 Levels

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Buyers’ expectations of housing availability continue to worsen. At its peak in the 4th quarter of 2020, 36% expected the home search to get easier in the months ahead.  After five straight drops, the share is now 17% – a level not seen since 2018.  In contrast, 74% expect the search for a home to get harder/stay the same.  Buyers’ worsening perceptions of housing availability reflect the record-low levels of housing inventory available in the market.

Housing availability expectations have deteriorated across all regions.   From peak to now, the share of buyers expecting the search for a home to get easier dropped in the Northeast (45% to 22%), Midwest (25% to 15%), South (32% to 17%), and West (40% to 18%).

Another measure confirms that buyers’ perceptions of housing inventory continue to deteriorate.  In the 4th quarter of 2020 (at its peak), 41% of buyers reported seeing more homes available for-sale* in their markets.  After declining for over a year, the share now stands at 23% – the lowest since the inception of the series in the 1st quarter of 2018.

Inventory perceptions have worsened across the country.  From peak to now, the share of buyers seeing more homes on the market dropped in the Northeast (48% to 27%), Midwest (33% to 21%), South (37% to 24%), and West (44% to 23%).

** Results come from the Housing Trends Report (HTR) – 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 third in a series of six posts highlighting results for the 1st quarter of 2022.  See previous posts on plans to buy and new vs. existing preference.



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