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West Fraser

Buyers’ View of Inventory, Affordability Dampened


2021 was hard on home buyers, according to National Association of Home Builders. In the second year of the pandemic, their view of housing availability and affordability took a tumble, as the shares of buyers who expected their home search to get easier or harder diverged in the fourth quarter of 2020. That’s when 54% of buyers expected their search to get harder and 37% expected it to get easier, according to Rose Quint, NAHB’s assistant vice president for survey research. By the third quarter of 2021, the share of buyers who expected finding a home to get harder had increased to 66%, while the share of those who expected an easier time fell to 25%.

“This worsening in buyers’ perceptions of inventory accurately reflects the scarcity of homes for-sale—particularly existing homes—during 2021,” Quint wrote in a blog post.

Buyers’ perceptions of availability fell in every region except the West, where optimism about the ease of home searches improved from 40% to 35%.

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Buyers have a similarly dim view about affordability, as 73% of buyers estimated they could afford fewer than half of the homes that were available in the third quarter of 2021, increasing every quarter from 63% in Q4 2020, according to Quint.

“This steady increase is evidence that double-digit increases in home prices have eroded the positive impact low interest rates had on buyers’ perceptions of housing affordability throughout 2020,” she said.


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