More than half of Americans recently polled believe that now is a good time to make a home purchase, according to the National Association of Realtors' Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey released Thursday.
The 2019 fourth quarter survey revealed that 63% of people believe now is a good time to buy a home (equal to the 63% who said the same in 2019), with 33% saying they strongly believe now is a good time to buy. Moreover, as to selling, 74% of those polled believe that now is a good time to sell (identical to the percentage in quarter three).
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said these positive sentiments can be linked to the strong job market and favorable economic conditions. “The mobility rate has been very low as many have opted to stay put for longer,” said Yun. “However, this latest boost – Americans saying now is a good time to move – is good news. With mortgage rates low, the timing is indeed ideal for those who want to enter into homeownership and for those looking to move on to their next home.”
Respondents from the silent generation (those born between 1925 and 1945) were most likely to state that now is a good time to buy (73%), while younger boomers (those born between 1955 and 1964) also overwhelmingly viewed the market favorably in terms of now being a good time to purchase (70%).
The survey also found that 82% of those who earn $100,000 or more said now is a good time to sell a home, with 81% of those in the West region agreeing.
“The Western region has seen home prices increase to the point that costs have outpaced income,” said Yun. “So, it is no wonder that those living in the West would think that now is a perfect time to place a home on the market. California especially is seeing some of the highest prices ever.”
The NAR study concurrently asked about home prices over the past year. 64% of those polled said they believe prices have increased within their communities within the last 12 months. 30% answered that they believe prices have remained about the same, while only 6% believe prices have decreased over that period.
Respondents were asked to share expectations of community home prices over the next six months. 41% predicted that prices will remain the same in their communities during that period, while 48% said they believe prices will rise and 11% said they expect prices to fall in the next six months.
Millennials at 47% were most likely to believe prices will increase in their communities. Out of the four major regions, the South had the highest number of residents who said home prices would climb over six months.
Finally, the NAR survey found that 52% of those polled believe the U.S. economy is improving. This is consistent with the third quarter of 2019. For the fourth quarter, optimism is highest among individuals who earn $100,000 compared to other income levels, as well as for those who reside in rural areas compared to other locations. 47% of millennials said they believe the economy is improving, the lowest of all age groups. 41% of those in urban areas said they believe the economy is improving, compared to 66% in rural areas.
Yun took note of the contrasts of viewpoints. “Whether it is a reflection of politics or true economic conditions, there is a difference of views between rural and urban areas,” he said.
From October through December, a sample of U.S. households was surveyed via a random-digit-dial, including a mix of cell phones and landlines. The survey was conducted by an established survey research firm, TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. Each month approximately 900 qualified households responded to the survey. The data was compiled for this report representing a total of 2,707 household responses.