How Consumers Perceive Affordability Now Versus 2020

A woman holding an empty wallet

© Grace Cary - Monument / Getty Images

About three-fourths of buyers estimate they could afford less than half the homes available for sale in their markets, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders, reflecting third-quarter data. That is up from 63% in the final quarter of 2020.

Home buyers’ perceptions of housing affordability have deteriorated over the last three consecutive quarters. Affordability expectations are worst in the Northeast and the South.

A line graph displaying the regions of the U.S. and the share of who can afford less than half the homes on the market.

Home prices have posted double-digit gains over the past year. The National Association of REALTORS® reports that existing-home sales prices are up 13.3% as of September compared to a year ago. That does mark a much slower pace in appreciation compared to the more than 20% annual gains seen earlier in the year. The median existing-home price for all housing types was $352,800 in September.

The housing market remains competitive. Forty-one percent of REALTORS® report that their buyers bid above the list price in September, according to the most recent REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.