The lack of affordable and buildable lots is hampering housing production, according to a survey released by the National Association of Home Builders this week at the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.
Seventy-nine percent of prospective buyers say they can only afford half the homes in their markets.
“These potential buyers see a problem with housing availability,” says Rose Quint, assistant vice president of survey research for the NAHB.
Housing starts in 2017 rose 9 percent over 2016, but the characteristics of new homes remained mostly the same, the NAHB notes. The average home size was 2,627 square feet in 2017, essentially the same as the 2,622-square-foot average in 2016. Forty-six percent of homes had four bedrooms or more in 2017 compared to 45 percent in 2016.
“Housing availability and affordability remain a serious issue, and it’s reflected in these findings,” Quint says.
Further, 65 percent of consumers surveyed say they don’t believe it will be any easier in 2018 to find a home in their price bracket, according to the survey.
Home owners are staying in their homes longer than they used to, averaging about 12 to 13 years, the NAHB says.
Homeowners who are staying put longer are sprucing up their properties, such as freshening up the paint colors (48 percent), changing their flooring (43 percent), and making improvements to the kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor spaces, according to separate consumer surveys conducted by Better Homes and Gardens.
Mainstream home buyers are more likely to do house projects themselves and to make compromises than luxury home buyers, the survey found. Mainstream buyers’ main household projects tend to favor brightly painted kitchen cabinets and big-box lighting solutions rather than custom installations. They also place a premium on energy-efficiency improvements.
Luxury owners sought to upgrade high-end outdoor fireplaces and furniture, start a bathroom renovation that included a spa shower or free-standing bathtub, and add kitchen upgrades, such as built-in wine coolers and warming ovens.