Only 20% of Home Buyers Expect House Search to Get Easier Soon

A second quarter 2019 NAHB poll revealed that only 12% of adults are prospective home buyers, i.e. they are planning to buy a home in the next year.  These prospective buyers were asked about their expectations for housing availability going forward.  As the graph below shows, 20% expect the search for a home to become easier in the months ahead, essentially unchanged from the 21% who had the same expectation a year earlier.  Sixty-seven percent expect availability to be harder or remain unchanged, also about the same as a year earlier (68%).

Except for Seniors (10%), about 20% of buyers in every generation expect the search for a home to get easier in the near future. Geographically, only 17% to 22% of buyers in each of the four Census regions expect easier homebuying conditions going forward.  These findings come from NAHB’s Housing Trends Report HTR)** for the second quarter of 2019.

Another way to explore buyers’ perceptions about the inventory of housing available in their markets is to ask how they see the number of for-sale homes (that they like and can afford) changing. In the second quarter of 2019, 27% of buyers reported seeing more such homes on the market compared to three months earlier, a slight drop from the 29% reporting increases a year earlier.  Meanwhile, the share of buyers who perceive fewer or the same number of homes for-sale fell slightly from 61% to 59% during this period.

Across generations, 27% of Millennials, Gen X, and Boomer buyers report seeing more homes they like and can afford on the market, compared to a lower 23% among Seniors. Regionally, buyers in the South are most likely to report improving availability (30%), while those in the Northeast are the least likely (22%).

* Homes with desired features and price point.

** 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 not seasonally adjusted due to the short-time horizon of the series, and therefore only year-over-year comparisons are statistically valid.  A description of the poll’s methodology and sample characteristics can be found here. This is the second in a series of five posts highlighting results for the second quarter of 2019.  See previous post on plans to buy.