A Break in the Homebuying Clouds?

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Is the housing market finally easing up for buyers, who have been hard-pressed for months to find housing options? Research from the National Association of Home Builders indicates that there’s at least a perception among buyers that things are getting easier.

Related: Denver metro among worst US housing markets

The Housing Trends Report found that in the first quarter of 2021, a third of buyers expect that it will get easier to buy a home in the coming months, compared to 25% in the first quarter of 2020. Buyers also noted a perceived improvement in affordability, with 35% saying they could afford at least half of the available home in their markets, compared to 23% last year.

That doesn’t mean that buyers expect things to actually be easy, though. Over 60% still say finding a home will be difficult or even harder, about the same percentage who responded the same way last year (62%). Rose Quint, assistant vice president of survey research for NAHB, noted that buyers’ perceptions about availability “reflects the fact that more new and existing homes were sold in the first quarter of 2021 than in the same period in 2020.”

Meanwhile, perceptions about affordability are likely a factor of mortgage interest rates remaining relatively low in March when the survey was conducted, according to Quint.

In both cases, millennials were more likely than other demographics to report a more optimistic perspective. Forty-four percent of millennials said they were able to afford at least half of the homes in their markets. That’s twice as high as any other age group, and of millennials’ own responses in the first quarter of last year.

Related: Pandemic smooths millennials’ bumpy road to homeownership

Millennials were the only demographic surveyed to say searching for a house was getting easier. Forty-two percent of millennials agreed, compared to 18% of boomers, 20% of Gen Z and 25% Gen X.

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