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Trulia: Rising Home Prices Causing Homebuyer Gridlock Among Starter, Trade Up And Premium Homes

Tight Inventory and Low Affordability Still Major Obstacles for First-Time Home Buyers with Starter Homes Down Most in Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Austin, San Diego, Nashville and Orange County.

SAN FRANCISCO, March 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Trulia®, a leading destination for homebuyers and renters, today launched the Trulia Inventory and Price Watch. This new quarterly report offers buyers and sellers deeper insight into the supply and affordability of homes within three different segments: starter homes, trade-up homes and premium homes. Based on the for-sale homes listed on Trulia, this report calculates housing inventory within each segment nationally and in the 100 largest U.S. metros, from January 1, 2012 to March 1, 2016. For the full report and methodology, see here.

Trulia Inventory and Price Watch: Since 2012, starter home inventory has dropped the most in South and West.

Nationally, Starter and Trade-Up Home Inventory Down More Than 40% Since 2012
Heading into the spring house-hunting season, inventory remains tight and affordability continues to worsen. The number of starter and trade-up homes on the market nationwide has dropped by 43.6% and 41.0%, respectively. Meanwhile, buyers will need to spend between 2-6% more of their income towards a home purchase than in 2012. In turn, this builds a higher barrier to entry for first-time buyers to become homeowners, and for existing homeowners to trade up – thus creating gridlock between housing segments.

National Inventory and Price Watch

Housing Segment

2016 Q1 Inventory

Change, 2012 Q1 – 2016 Q1

Median List Price

Share

Inventory

% of Income
Needed to
Buy Home

% Change
in Median
List Price

Percentage
Point Change
in Share

% Change in
Inventory

Additional Share of
Income Needed to
Buy Home
(Percentage Point
Change)

Starter

$154,156

27.7%

238,461

37.7%

31.8%

-2.5% pts

-43.6%

+5.6% pts

Trade Up

$267,845

26.1%

224,609

24.9%

23.5%

-1.1% pts

-41.0%

+2.6% pts

Premium

$542,805

46.2%

397,799

13.4%

20.3%

+3.5% pts

-33.4%

+1.4% pts

Note: National numbers based on 100 largest U.S. metros. Median price for each segment is the stock-weighted average of the median price of each segment in each metro. Share is the percent of for-sale homes that fall into each segment, which is defined separately for each metro.

 

Starter Home Inventory Drops Most in South and West
Since 2012, the number of starter homes has decreased in 95 of the 100 largest U.S. metros. Housing markets in the South and West experienced the biggest drops. For instance, starter home inventory has fallen the most in Salt Lake City, from 1,243 to just 151, which is an 87.9% drop in four years.

Markets with Largest Decrease in Starter Homes

U.S. Metro

Starter Home
Inventory, 2012 Q1

Starter Home
Inventory, 2016 Q1

% Change

Salt Lake City, UT

1,243

151

-87.9%

San Antonio, TX

3,097

426

-86.2%

Austin, TX

1,927

329

-82.9%

San Diego, CA

4,415

864

-80.4%

Nashville, TN

3,383

694

-79.5%

Note: Among 100 largest U.S. metros, see here.

 

Starter Home Affordability Worsens in California
Strong job growth, tight inventory and rising prices in California have led to the largest drop in starter-home affordability in the nation during the period covered. For instance, starter-home buyers in Oakland would have to spend nearly 70% of their median income to afford a 30-year fixed rate mortgage on a starter home, which is 29% more of their income than in 2012. Meanwhile, affordable starter homes are non-existent in San Francisco. As a result, buyers are increasingly looking down the housing ladder. Trade-up buyers are turning their attention to smaller, less expensive homes in the starter home category, thus inflating prices past what's affordable for true starter-home buyers.

Markets with Largest Decrease in Starter Home Affordability

U.S. Metro

Median Starter
Home List
Price, 2016 Q1

% of Income Needed
to Buy Starter Home,
2016 Q1

Additional Share of Income
Needed to Buy Starter Home in
2016 Q1 vs. 2012 Q1

Oakland, CA

$374,000

69.2%

+29.0% pt

Los Angeles, CA

$329,000

88.1%

+28.2% pt

San Jose, CA

$585,713

86.7%

+26.6% pt

San Francisco, CA

$714,000

110.5%

+24.7% pt

Sacramento, CA

$217,900

54.3%

+23.3% pt

Note: Among 100 largest U.S. metros, see here.

 

QUOTES FROM TRULIA'S CHIEF ECONOMIST RALPH MCLAUGHLIN:

  • "If inventory continues to shrink throughout the spring house hunting season, buyers will likely be faced with more bidding wars and offers above the seller's asking price. Meanwhile, sellers will be better positioned to sell their homes than in years past, but may have difficulty finding another home to buy."

  • "Rising prices are creating homebuyer gridlock. As the price of premium homes goes up, owners of trade-up homes are less likely to sell their current home and buy a premium home, thus further limiting the stock of trade-up homes."

2016 RELEASE SCHEDULE

Report

Release Date

Q2 (April – June) 2016

Tuesday, June, 21, 2016

Q3 (July – September) 2016

Wednesday, September, 21, 2016

Q4 (October – December) 2016

Tuesday, December, 13, 2016

 

About Trulia
Trulia® is a vibrant home shopping marketplace, focused on giving homebuyers, sellers and renters the information they need to make better decisions. On mobile and the Web, Trulia provides house hunters with insights and unique information about properties, neighborhoods and real estate agents. Additionally, Trulia offers data and information about schools, crimes, commute times, and the real estate market.

Launched in 2005, Trulia is based in San Francisco and is owned and operated by Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z and ZG).

Trulia is a registered trademark of Trulia, LLC.

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