Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Homebuying Demand Continues to Outpace Supply in Many States

In a monthly survey of REALTORS®, respondents reported that buyer traffic conditions in August 2017 were stable to very strong compared to conditions one year ago in all states except Delaware, according to the August 2017 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.[1]

Respondents rate buyer traffic as “Stronger” (100), “Stable” (50), or “Weaker” (0) in August 2017 compared to August 2016. An index greater than 50 indicates that more respondents reported stronger than weaker traffic conditions. Nineteen states had the highest levels of the index, indicating that buyer traffic was very strong, led by Washington, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota, Tennessee, Michigan, Kentucky, and Hawaii.

buyer traffic

Meanwhile, supply was weaker or unchanged in many states in August 2017 compared to conditions in the same month last year. Seller conditions were “strong” only in nine states and the District of Columbia.

seller traffic

Nationally, the REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index (64) indicates that buyer demand is stronger compared to conditions in the same month last year. Meanwhile, supply remained generally tight, with the REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index remaining below 50 (47). An index below 50 indicates that more respondents reported “weaker” than “stronger” seller conditions in August 2017 compared to conditions one year ago.


Housing starts, although improving, have not kept pace with the 1.5 million estimated demand for units coming from net household formation (about 1.2 million) and units needed to replace obsolete or destroyed homes.

Housing starts need to ramp up even further, especially in Texas and Florida, to replace the housing units damaged or destroyed by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. In Texas alone, the Texas Division of Emergency Management of the Department of Public Safety reported that as of September 19, there were 15,458 destroyed residential properties and 61,667 damaged properties (single-family, mobile, and multi-family).[2]

housing starts


[1] In generating the indices, NAR uses data for the last three surveys to have close to 30 observations. Small states such as AK, ND, SD, MT, VT, WY, WV, DE, and D.C., may have fewer than 30 observations.

[2] DSO Spreadsheet 17-0021, Texas Department of Public Safety,