Strong Employment Growth Continues to Underpin Homebuyer Demand in March 2018

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 January–March 2018 compared to conditions one year ago, according to the  March 2018 REALTORS® Confidence Index SurveyREALTORS® reported that buyer conditions were “stable” to “very strong” compared to conditions one year ago.[1]  Buyer traffic conditions were “very strong” in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. An index greater than 50 indicates that more respondents reported “stronger” than “weaker” buyer traffic conditions during the month compared to one year ago.

 

Housing demand is strong where employment is also growing robustly. The states with the highest employment growth in March 2018 from one year ago were Utah (3.3%), Idaho (3.3%), Washington (2.9%), Colorado (2.6%), Nevada (2.8%), Arizona (2.5%), Texas (2.4%), and Florida (2.1%).

 

 

However, supply continues to fall behind the level of demand, with the number of active listings on Realtor.com as an indicator. The interactive map below shows that many metropolitan areas continue to see fewer active listings compared to one year ago (red areas), although there are also areas in California, Washington, Texas, and the Washington DC area where more properties were listed in March 2018 compared to one year ago (blue areas).

Use the data visualization interactive map below to view the number of active listings since June 2012 in your metropolitan area. Red areas are areas where there were fewer active listings in March 2018 compared to one year ago. Hover on the map to view the historical number of listings on Realtor.com during June 2012 through March 2018.[2]


[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.”

 

[2] Realtor.com data is freely available and can be download from https://www.realtor.com/research

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