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June 2019

Buyers' perceptions on affordability may be improving

June 6, 2019

Buyers' perceptions about their ability to afford a home may be shifting, albeit slowly, in a positive direction, according to the latest Housing Trends Report.

Prospective home buyers are asked to estimate what share of homes available in their markets they believe they can afford. For the first quarter of 2019, 78 percent estimated they could afford fewer than half the homes offered for sale in their markets. For the same period a year ago, the share was 82 percent.

The survey also found 22 percent of buyers said they could afford half or more of the homes in their markets in the first quarter of 2019, up from twelve months ago when the figure was 18 percent.

Survey analysts say additional data will be necessary to determine a trend, but suggested the findings may indicate buyers' perceptions about their ability to afford a home appear to be improving.

Pollsters also compared perceptions among generations. Most buyers, regardless of age, still estimate only being able to afford fewer than half the homes for sale in their markets, with little deviation among the generations. Seniors registered in at 74%, boomers at 76%, millennials at 78% and Gen X at 81%.

Similarly, more than three-fourths of buyers in every region share the same low affordability perception.

The Housing Trends Report (HRT), conducted for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and released quarterly, measures perceptions about the availability and affordability of for-sale homes in home buyers' markets. Data are derived from national polls of representative samples of American adults.