According to a National Association of Realtors fourth-quarter 2019 survey, 63% of people believe now is a good time to buy a home, with 33% saying they strongly believe that is the case. Moreover, as to selling, 74% of those polled believe that now is a good time to sell.
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,” says 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%).
NAR’s fourth-quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey 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,” Yun says. “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. Sixty-four percent of those polled said they believe prices have increased within their communities within the last 12 months. Thirty percent 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. Forty-one percent 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.
The NAR survey also found that 52% of those polled believe the U.S. economy is improving. 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. Forty-seven percent of millennials said they believe the economy is improving – the lowest of all age groups. Forty-one percent of those in urban areas said they believe the economy is improving, compared to 66% in rural areas.
“Whether it is a reflection of politics or true economic conditions, there is a difference of views between rural and urban areas,” Yun comments.