Economists' Outlook

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REALTORS® Reported Strong Buyer Traffic Amid Tight Supply in Many States in March‒May 2016

In the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) asks members to rate the past month's buyer and seller traffic in the neighborhood or area where they make most of their sales. NAR compiles the responses on buyer traffic into a REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index and the responses on seller traffic into a REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index.

The maps below show the condition of buyer and seller traffic using data collected from March‒May 2016, according to the May 2016 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report.

Local conditions vary in each state, but the REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index indicates that markets were “moderate” to “very strong” in all states except in Alaska, Delaware, and Connecticut where buyer traffic was “weak.”[1]

buyer traffic

Amid strong demand, seller traffic was “weak” in many states, measured by the REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index.[2] However, seller traffic was “strong” in several states, including those that had benefited from the oil boom but who are now facing slower job growth due to lingering lower oil and natural resources prices—North Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Texas. The slower job growth and job cutbacks in these states have led to more home selling and a shift to a buyer’s market.[3]

seller traffic
Sparse new home construction has been a major factor driving prices up. Although the number of permits authorized for new privately owned housing units has been improving (1.15 million units on an annualized basis in May 2016), 53 percent of new construction has been multi-family structures, which are mostly for rental occupancy.[4] In 2005, multi-family structures accounted for only 20 percent of new construction, so the availability of single-units for purchase among recently constructed properties is lower than is historically normal.REALTORS® reported low inventory of properties in the lower price range and for those that are move-in ready. The gap in demand and supply has led to strong price growth especially in California, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington. Of the 178 metro areas that NAR tracks and has price data on, 28 metro areas experienced price growth in the range of ten to 25 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the levels in the first quarter of 2015.

new privately owned
new private 1 unit


[1] The index for each state is based on data for the last three months to increase the observations for each state. Small states such as AK, ND, SD, MT, VT, WY, WV, DE, and D.C., may have fewer than 30 observations. Respondents were asked “How do you rate the past month's buyer traffic in the neighborhood(s) or area(s) where you make most of your sales?” Respondents rated conditions or expectations as “Strong (100),” “Moderate (50),” and “Weak (0).” The responses are compiled into a diffusion index. For graphical purposes, index values 25 and lower are labeled “Very weak,” values greater than 25 to 49 are labeled “Weak,” a value of 50 is labeled “Moderate,” values greater than 50 to 75 are labeled “Strong,” and values greater than 76 are labeled “Very strong.”

[2] Respondents were asked “How do you rate the past month's seller traffic in the neighborhood(s) or area(s) where you make most of your sales?” Respondents rated conditions or expectations as “Strong (100),” “Moderate (50),” and “Weak (0).” The responses are compiled into a diffusion index. A value of 50 indicates a balance of respondents who reported “Strong “and “Weak” markets. For graphical purposes, index values 25 and lower are labeled “Very weak,” values greater than 25 to 49 are labeled “Weak,” a value of 50 is labeled “Moderate,” values greater than 50 to 75 are labeled “Strong,” and values greater than 76 are labeled “Very strong.”

[3] https://communityimpact.com/houston/the-woodlands/economic-development/2015/12/09/falling-oil-prices-starting-to-affect-woodlands-economy/http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/06/north-dakota-oil-boom-bust/396620/

[4] Based on the latest data for the first quarter of 2016, 92 percent of the multi-family units completed were for rental occupancy with regions varying from 90 percent in the West to 100 percent in the Midwest. Source: Census Bureau. Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design, Units Per Building, 2016 preliminary data. https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/pdf/quarterly_starts_completions...

Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.

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