Buyers Expect Less Housing Availability

After a brief respite earlier in 2022, buyers’ expectations of housing availability soured again at the end of the year.  In the final quarter of 2022, the share of buyers who expect the home search to get easier in the months ahead dropped to 24%, down from 37% in the third quarter. In contrast, 66% expect the search to get harder/stay the same, up from 59%.

Housing availability expectations deteriorated in three regions of the country.  In the Northeast, the share of buyers expecting an easier home search in the months ahead dropped from 44% in the third quarter to 28% in the fourth quarter.  In the Midwest, the share dropped from 33% to 19%; and in the West, from 52% to 27%.  The share edged up in the South, from 23% to 24%.

Another way to measure buyers’ perceptions of housing inventory is to ask them if they are seeing more/fewer/the same number of homes for-sale (with desired features and price point) in their markets.  By this measure, buyers’ perceptions also worsened.  In the final quarter of 2022, 30% of buyers were seeing more such homes available, down from 36% a quarter earlier.

Inventory perceptions weakened across all regions.  From the third to the final quarter of 2022, the share of buyers seeing more homes (with desired features and price point) on the market fell in the Northeast (43% to 26%), Midwest (30% to 23%), the South (33% to 32%), and West (42% to 31%).

* 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 4th quarter of 2022.  See previous post on plans to buy and new vs. existing preferences.

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