Buyers expect more choice but will be restrained by their budgets

by Steve Randall21 Mar 2019

This springs potential homebuyers are expecting a larger supply of homes overall this spring but with their budgets may mean a tough battle to secure a home they can afford.

A survey by has found that almost half of respondents are looking for a home priced at $200,000 or less – the segment of housing inventory that has declined the most year-over-year.

"The 2019 spring home buying season will be characterized by rising home prices, a moderate pace of home sales, and an influx of inventory," said Danielle Hale,®'s chief economist. "More homes on the market and lower mortgage rates will help offset some difficulties associated with price gains, but affordability will remain the primary challenge for shoppers, particularly in lower price segments."

Finding a home has been challenging for some time and most of the 1,105 respondents polled in the last month, said that they have been searching for more than 7 months, around a quarter have been looking for 4-6 months, and 34% began searching only in the last three months.

Some of those more recent searchers may have been deterred by higher mortgage rates and 26% said rates had the greater impact on their search while 38% cited rising home prices. 35% said neither.

Less competition
While overall inventory is expected to rise, 60% of respondents are expecting at least some competition, down from 70% a year ago.

But it seems that many potential buyers are sticking to their budgets with just 17% planning to offer more than the asking price, down from 26% a year ago.

There is also a lower share of potential buyers that will have more than 20% as a down payment - 33% vs. 40% last year.

"The spring homebuying season is an improvement over last year from an inventory perspective nationwide, but would-be buyers still face challenges. This year, shoppers are going to be grappling with their budgets, rather than competition from a horde of other buyers. Instead of worrying about which tactics will help them get ahead, potential buyers will have to decide what they are willing to give up in order to stick to their budget," Hale added.


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