Homebuyers planning to buy soon are falling off the map

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The share of home shoppers planning on buying a house within a year tanked in the fourth quarter, and those who are searching blame affordability struggles for their setbacks, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Only 13% of prospective buyers plan to purchase in the next 12 months, which is down from 24% a year ago, according to NAHB's Housing Trends Report.

Nearly half of house shoppers who have been searching for at least three months blame the inability to find an affordable home as the reason they haven't pulled the trigger, and 44% said it's because the properties don't have the features they're seeking.

Millennials, who comprise the largest cohort of homebuyers, are among those most likely to search solely for a newly built home over any other generation, meaning they're probably looking at higher-priced properties than existing homes. Baby boomers are among the most unlikely to solely seek out newly constructed housing.

And overall, most house shoppers don't think their searches will go any smoother. Only 19% of buyers expect to see their search get easier in the months ahead. This share is down considerably from 27% in the same period a year ago.

In terms of inventory, only 27% of homebuyers report seeing more supply on the market than the previous three months, which is down from 34% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Only 13% of shoppers can afford the majority of homes available, which is up slightly from 21% a year ago.

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Purchase Housing market Home prices Housing inventory NAHB