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December 2019

Frustrated buyers say high prices are biggest obstacle

December 5, 2019

Prices proved to be the biggest obstacle for would-be home buyers. Of buyers who have been looking for at least three months, 45% said they can't find a home at a price they can afford.

Nearly a third (32%) of frustrated buyers also said not being able to find a home with the features they want was an important factor. Not finding a home in their preferred neighborhood was cited by 30% of unsuccessful buyers as the reason for the delay.

Researchers for the National Association of Home Builders also asked house-hunters who have been actively searching for at least three months about their future plans if the right home remains elusive.

More than half (52%) indicated they will continue looking for the 'right' home in the same preferred location. More than a third (35%) said they will expand the search area. Sixteen percent reported a willingness to accept a smaller/older home, while 9% said they might buy a more expensive home. Giving up on homeownership until next year or later was the likely next step for 15% of survey respondents.

Data on unsuccessful home buyers are collected quarterly as part of NAHB's Housing Trends Report (HTR). The report tracks changes in buyers' perceptions.

The paceof home price appreciation picked up in September, led by Seattle, according tothe Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. Analysts credit strong demandand tight inventory as factors, and cite lower mortgage rates and "a solidlabor market" for boosting demand.

 

Threemetro areas - San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston - experienced home price dropsin September (the most recent reporting period) compared to the previous month.

 

The U.S.National Home Price Index rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of4.7% in September, up slightly from the August figure of 4.3%. A comparison ofyear-over-year changes shows the national index increased 3.2% in Septemberfrom the same month a year ago.

 

TheS&P report covering 20 metro areas shows local home prices varied from adrop of 2.1% to a gain of 9.6%. Ten areas surpassed the national average of4.7%, with Seattle's 9.6% gain topping the list. San Francisco had the steepestdrop at -2.1%.

 

The HomePrice Index tallied by the Federal Housing Finance Agency also showed gains,but at different rates. Its Index showed a seasonally adjusted increase of 7.7%in September, up from 2.5% the previous month. FHFA's year-over-year figures revealeda 5.1% gain in September, improving on the increase of 4.8% in August.

 

Thirdquarter house prices edged up 1.1% from the previous quarter, and jumped 4.9%from third quarter 2018.

 

Otherfindings in FHFA's House Price Index included:

·      Houseprices have risen for 33 consecutive quarters across the U.S.

·      Houseprices rose in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between the thirdquarters of 2018 and 2019.

·      Houseprices rose in all 100 of the largest metro areas in the U.S. over the lastfour quarters.

 

A closerlook at local metro areas shows The Tacoma-Lakewood area ranked 16thamong the 100 metro areas with a 6.7% spike in prices for the third quarter of2019 compared to third quarter 2018. The Seattle-Bellevue-Kent area ranked 92ndwith a 1.9% increase in prices from third quarter 2018 to third quarter 2019.Washington, with a 5.6% increase, ranked 18th in the U.S.

 

Homeownerswho want to calculate their home's price appreciation can use FHFA's calculator.That tool projects what a given house purchased at a point in time would beworth today if it appreciated at the average appreciation rate of all homes inthe area. It does not project the actual value of any particular house.

 

TheFHFA-HPI is a weighted, repeat-sales index that measures average price changesin repeat sales or refinancing on the same properties. The agency said it alsoprovides housing economists with "an improved analytical tool that is useful for estimating changes in therates of mortgage defaults, prepayments and housing affordability in specificgeographic areas."