A Top Barrier to Homeownership May Be Easing

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A recent Eye on Housing blog post revealed that 53% of buyers actively searching for a home to buy in the first quarter of 2019 have been looking unsuccessfully for at least three months. Why is it taking these buyers so long to pull the trigger? The most important reason is they can’t find a home at a price they can afford (46%), followed by not finding a home in the neighborhood of their choice (40%) and not being able to find a home with the features they want (38%). These were the findings from the most recent 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. Comparing these findings to similar data from a year earlier shows a five-point drop in the top reason respondents cited as their biggest barrier to homeownership — finding a home at a price they can afford. Future data will determine if this is an ongoing trend. If the right home remains elusive for these buyers in the months ahead, these house hunters reported they will do the following:
  • 56% will continue looking for the ‘right’ home in the same preferred location,
  • 41% will expand their search area,
  • 30% is willing to accept a smaller/older home, and
  • 21% might buy a more expensive home.
Giving up on homeownership is the least likely outcome, as only 14% will stop trying to find a home. NAHB economist Rose Quint provides more details in this Eye on Housing blog post.

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