Are homeowners warming up?
With prices rapidly rising, homeowners have been reluctant to sell, fearful of being unable to afford another home—a catch-22, because inventory is limited as it is, and compounded further when homes are kept off the market.
Now, their confidence is growing, according to the latest National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) quarterly survey. Seventy-percent of Americans are optimistic about selling, with 50 percent “strongly” believing now is ideal to list, according to the survey. Less than one-quarter (22 percent) believe now is not ideal to list—a decrease from 29 percent the prior quarter.
At the same time, 70 percent of Americans believe home prices have risen this year, and 53 percent believe they will climb in the next six months—the latter a slight slip from 55 percent the prior quarter. Fifty-six percent say the amount of listings in their neighborhood has not risen, while 23 percent say there have, in fact, been more homes on the market.
“Though the vast majority of consumers believe home prices will continue to increase or hold steady, they understand the days of easy, fast gains could be coming to an end,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “Therefore, more are indicating that it is a good time to sell, which is a healthy shift in the market.”
What about the buy side? While a healthy 63 percent of homebuyers believe now is ideal to purchase, the figure is a dip from 68 percent the prior quarter. Forty-five percent of renters are of the same sentiment—also a drop, from 49 percent the prior year.
Of all of those surveyed, 60 percent believe the economy is improving. The HOME Personal Financial Outlook Index, a gauge of whether or not Americans expect their finances to improve, rose to 62.6. Based on their current finances, however, more than half of those surveyed believe it will be either “somewhat” or “very” difficult to get a mortgage.
“This is most likely a manifestation of the constantly rising prices,” Yun says. “As prices rise, so do down payments, making the mortgage qualifying process more challenging.”
In this quarter’s survey, NAR asked how buyers’ decisions are impacted by local schools. More than two-thirds believe “highly rated schools” are either “somewhat” or “very” important. Other factors of importance include having family/friends nearby (25 percent), and proximity to work (24 percent).
“When you buy a home, you do not just buy the house; you buy a community—neighbors, parks, stores and schools,” says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “REALTORS® understand the unique qualities of the neighborhoods in their area and can help individual families find and purchase the right home in the right neighborhood.”