Buyers, or the lack of them, normally get the blame for all that ails housing.

When not enough people want homeownership, or can afford it, the available inventory of for-sale homes sits and loses value, and that’s bad.  Fed chief Janet Yellen may be one of the few people who believe this is currently an issue.

Knock on wood, that doesn’t seem to be a problem of the moment. This morning, the National Association of Realtors will release data on existing home sales for August.Consensus expectations are for a run-rate of 5.5 million. Likely, commentary accompanying the actual figure, to be disclosed at 10 a.m., will be that limited supply continues to stifle demand and inflate prices. Scarcity unbalances demand.

How many markets and submarkets do you hear about these days where available, for-sale inventory goes languishing?

The pace of sales may slow, the mix may shift, traffic flow may be off and on. But few question the fact that if there were a healthy supply of good homes in good communities–new and used–at varying price points and offering a variety of fair finance options, there would be a steady stream of demand.

If a market is creating jobs, or sustaining them, or casting a spell of allure to people–like retirees–to move there, there is demand. We see it now in the form of household formations. We do not see it in terms of tran

  • As GenX moves through the 40-somethings and 50-somethings, structural demand should continue to take a hit vs. longer term trends.
  • Focus on the lower-price tiers of the housing market, both for new and existing homes, will be likely to pay off for those who can manage the capital and time risks of providing those offerings for buyers who want to enter the ownership continuum
  • Focus among new home builders on people currently in their latter 50s and early 60s will be another big pay-off area, assuming that this is not a homogeneous cohort, and the existing options–even “age-ing in place” in their current home–may not be preferable, given where their kids are drawn to to find their livelihoods.