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Housing Affordability Perceptions Improve Slightly

In addition to analyzing buyers’ perceptions about housing availability, the Housing Trends Report also explores perceptions about housing affordability.  To this end, the poll asks prospective home buyers to estimate the share of homes available in their markets they believe they can afford. In the first quarter of 2018, 82% estimated they could afford fewer than half the homes for-sale in their markets.  Fast forward a year to the first quarter of 2019, and the share is slightly lower, at 78%.  Meanwhile, a higher share of buyers say they can afford half or more of the homes in their markets in the first quarter of 2019 (22%) than did in the first quarter of 2018 (18%).  Additional data will be necessary to determine a trend, but this finding may indicate buyers’ perceptions about their ability to afford a home could be shifting (slowly) in a positive direction.

Across generations, most buyers still estimate only being able to afford fewer than half the homes for-sale in their markets, with the share ranging from 74% of Seniors to 81% of Gen X’ers.   Similarly, more than three out of every four buyers in every region share that same low affordability perception.

What Share of all Homes Currently For-Sale in Your Market is Affordable to You?
(Percent of Prospective Home Buyers)

Housing Affordability

Share Who Can Afford Fewer than Half the Homes For-Sale by Generation
(Percent of Prospective Home Buyers)

Share Who Can Afford Fewer than Half the Homes For-Sale by Region
(Percent of Prospective Home Buyers)

* The HOUSING TRENDS REPORT (HTR) 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 Sample Characteristics. This is the third in a series of five posts highlighting results for the first quarter of 2019. See previous posts on plans to buy andhousing availability.

This post brought to you by NAHB Eye on Housing.