Homebuilders Brace For Less Demand Due To COVID-19 Crisis

Published: Monday, April 27, 2020 - 2:10pm
Updated: Monday, April 27, 2020 - 6:02pm

New data shows one in 10 U.S. adults plan to buy a house this year. Or at least that was their plan last month.

Every quarter, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) tracks buyers’ perceptions about availability and affordability. During the last half of March — before most states issued stay at home orders — it found 10% planned to buy this year. In 2019, it was 13% and in 2018, 17% of adults planned to buy a home.

Two weeks after the March poll was conducted, the NAHB pointed out about 12 million people filed for unemployment benefits.

“Geographically, 11% of respondents in the South and West are prospective home buyers, slightly ahead of the 8% in the Northeast and Midwest,” Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president for survey research, 

Contracts for new, single family homes dropped 15.4% in March. Despite the drop, January and February saw enough activity to lift the first quarter total to 6.7% higher than the first quarter in 2019.

Due to higher unemployment and shutdown effects, the association expects significant declines during the second quarter. 

“However, given the momentum housing construction held at the start of 2020, the housing industry will help lead the economy in the eventual recovery,” wrote Robert Dietz, chief economist for NAHB.

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