Homes listed for sale during the first quarter of 2020 were 8% more affordable than the same time in 2019, a new report from realtor.com and the National Association of Realtors said.
But there are only two metros that offer both affordability and an adequate supply of listings, which have been historically low.
Des Moines, Iowa, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had more than 10 listings per 1,000 households and an affordability score of at least one, making them affordable to households at a wide variety of income levels and relatively well-supplied, with 10.9 and 11.7 listings per 1,000 households and affordability scores of 1.03 and one, respectively, the report said.
Meanwhile, finding a home in most markets is becoming more difficult as the inventory of homes per 1,000 households is down 53% from the 20-year average.
On average, eight homes were listed for sale for every 1,000 households at the end of Q1, compared to the long-term historical average of 17 listings per 1,000 households, the report said.
“The lack of affordable homes for sale has been the No. 1 issue facing homebuyers for the last several years,” realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said in a statement. “The [COVID-19] pandemic has eased the affordability side of the equation by lowering interest rates, but it has also prompted many sellers to delay listing their homes. As buyers return, we’ll need to see sellers come back for the housing market to normalize.”
Other historically affordable metros – Buffalo and Rochester, New York; Columbus, Ohio; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – have had listings dry up, according to the report.
Atlanta; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Jacksonville, Florida and Lakeland, Florida had at least 10 active listings per 1,000 households with an affordability score of at least 0.8, making them relatively affordable, realtor.com said.