Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Homebuying Demand Continues to Outpace Supply in Many States in September 2017

In a monthly survey of REALTORS®, respondents are asked “Compared to the same month last year, how would you rate the past month's traffic in neighborhood(s) or area(s) where you make most of your sales?” Respondents rate buyer traffic as “Stronger” (100), “Stable” (50), or “Weaker” (0) and the responses are compiled into a diffusion index. An index greater than 50 means that more respondents reported “stronger” than “weaker” conditions.

The chart below shows buyer traffic conditions in July–September 2017 compared to conditions one year ago.  Based on the responses reported in the  September 2017 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, buyer conditions were “stable” to “very strong” in all states.[1] Buyer traffic was “very strong” in Washington and Tennessee. Texas and Florida, which were battered by hurricanes Harvey and Irma respectively, still showed “strong” buying activity.

buyer traff

Meanwhile, supply conditions varied from weak to strong across states in July–September 2017 compared to conditions one year ago. Seller conditions were weak in many states where buyer traffic conditions are strong to very strong, such as California, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina.

seller traff

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).

The inventory of existing and new homes for sale stood at 2.21 million in August 2017, which, at the current level of demand (sales), will be exhausted in 4.3 months. Historical data since January 2000 indicates shows the median price of existing homes tended to appreciate above five percent when months’ supply fell below six months, while home prices fell by at least ten percent when months’ supply rose to ten months or more in 2010.


[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. For graphical purposes, index values from 25.01 to 45 are labeled “Weak,” values of 45.01 to 55 are labeled “Stable,” values of 55.01 to 75 are labeled “Strong,” and values greater than 75 are labeled “Very Strong.”