After souring significantly in the final quarter of 2022, buyers’ expectations of housing availability edged up slightly in the first quarter of 2023, with 26% expecting the home search to get easier in the months ahead, just ahead of the 24% a quarter earlier. Despite the mild improvement, buyers’ perceptions of housing availability remain well below their level in the third quarter of last year (when 37% expected easier availability ahead).
Housing availability expectations changed little across regions. From the final quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of 2023, the share of buyers expecting an easier home search ahead was essentially unchanged in the Northeast (28% to 27%), the Midwest (19% to 20%), and the South (flat at 24%), while showing a mild improvement in the West (27% to 29%).
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 remained essentially unchanged between the final quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, as the share of buyers seeing more homes available for-sale* in their markets barely moved from 30% to 31%.
Inventory perceptions changed unevenly across regions. From the fourth quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of 2023, the share of buyers seeing more homes (with desired features and price point) declined in the South (32% to 25%), but increased in the Northeast (26% to 39%), Midwest (23% to 31%), West (31% to 34%).
* 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 2023. See previous post on plans to buy and new vs. existing preferences.
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