Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at NAR, at the National Association of Realtors’ Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum during the 2019 Realtors Conference & Expo in San Francisco, California, said, “We will not have a recession, and will see a baseline growth rate of 1.5% for 2020.”

“New and existing-home sales are expected to increase,” he said while addressing current low unemployment rates. “Every state is creating jobs. Some states are doing it faster than others, but we see job creation in every state. That and lower mortgage rates are helping first-time buyers get into the market.”

An NAHB Economics poll conducted during the first quarter of 2018 found that 17% of American adults plan to buy a home within the next 12 months.
Courtesy Adobe Stock/Monkey Business Images

Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR, discussed the associations’ 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, which was released earlier today. The survey—considered the industry source of trusted insight into consumer behavior—revealed some unique shifts in home buyer and seller behavior in 2019, according to Lautz.

“As birth rates dropped nationwide, fewer buyers have children under the age of 18 in their homes.” This, Lautz explained, can impact the size of a home and how long a family remains in a particular home.

Another shift discussed was an increase in dog parks throughout various neighborhoods. “Just a few years ago, buyers were concerned about living near the best schools, but now we’re seeing a jump in the desire to accommodate pets with outdoor spaces and proximity to dog parks and vets.”

Brandi Snowden, NAR’s director of member and consumer survey research, spoke about consumer sentiments toward the housing market and trends in home remodeling. Her presentation took a look at home buyer perceptions, along with some disparities between homeowners and renters. Over the last year, consumers believing whether or not “now is the time to buy” have been trending downward, according to Snowden. However, she says that research also indicates that consumers overwhelmingly say that now is a good time to sell a home. “A kitchen remodel is a great way to increase the functionality and livability of a home,” she said. It also helps those looking to sell.

But not all homeowners are looking to put their home on the market. Based on NAR’s home buyers and sellers’ data, tenure in homes is increasing. Snowden added that a number of homeowners have chosen to stay in their current home and tackle remodeling projects. Such projects, she says, often offer high returns on investment, increased happiness, and more comfort in the home.

Gay Cororaton, NAR’s director of housing and commercial research, spoke on the latest results from the Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate 2019 and discussed the 2019 U.S. Vacation Home Counties Report—two projects she helped author. “Foreign buyer purchases have declined sharply since 2017 amid weakening global economic conditions and rising U.S. home prices,” she said. Cororaton noted that Chinese buyers have been most impacted by the weakening of the yuan, tighter control on dollar outflows, and strained US-China trade relations. Foreign buyer purchases dropped to $77.9 billion in 2019 from the $153 billion level in the 2017.

Regarding the 2019 Vacation Home Counties report, vacation buyers are a large part of the market in counties in Maine, Wisconsin, and Michigan, said Cororaton.