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December 2019

Number of prospective home buyers who are actively searching shrinks

December 5, 2019

Of the 12% of American adults who plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months, 44% are actively looking. That's a slightly smaller share than a year ago when 47% of prospective buyers were actively searching.

Researchers at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) who analyzed the results of its latest Housing Trends Report said the finding suggests that the lowest mortgage rates in the past three years did not lead more prospective buyers to become actively engaged in the process of house-hunting. The recently revealed survey covered the third quarter of 2019.

A comparison of prospective buyers across the U.S. showed buyers in the Northwest are the most likely to be actively looking with 50% reportedly doing so, followed by those in the West (45%), South (45%), and Midwest (40%).

Of those who are actively searching, nearly six in 10 (58%) said they had been looking for at least three months.

The Builders' Housing Trends Report is intended to measure prospective home buyers' perceptions about the availability and affordability of homes for sale in their markets.

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."