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Q1 Outlook Survey: Consumer Confidence in Real Estate, Home Prices Reaches Year-Long High

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Prudential Real Estate, an HSF Affiliates LLC company, recently released results of its first quarter Consumer Outlook Survey showing that Americans’ sentiment toward real estate is growing increasingly favorable. A full 77 percent of consumers feel that the real estate market and property values will recover, representing a four-point improvement from year-end results and seven-point jump over the same period a year ago.

According to the national survey, home ownership remains important to 96 percent of Americans, especially among women and Generations X and Y. Prospective buyers also said they are motivated by historically low interest rates and attractive home prices in many markets. In fact, 87 percent of respondents said Americans should buy homes while mortgage rates and prices are low.

“Anticipation seems to be building for both buyers and sellers this spring buying season,” says Earl Lee, chief executive officer of HSF Affiliates LLC and president of Prudential Real Estate. “Consumers are aware that the market is moving and, with growing optimism, more are weighing their homeownership options.”

More optimism in the housing market adds an additional dimension to the spring buying season. Beyond other factors, 80 percent of prospective buyers are looking for a good value this spring and are open to exploring neighborhoods they hadn’t previously considered to achieve that objective.

The majority of buyers who feel it will be easier to acquire a home this spring feel that way because the market has improved and “homeowners want to sell.”

Prospective home-sellers indicated that “finding the right house to buy first” and “making a profit” were the primary reasons they would list their homes this spring.

Additional key observations include:

• 87 percent of sellers are committed to seeing a sale through if their home doesn’t sell quickly, and 67 percent are open to additional guidance from their broker/agent on how to better market their home. 62 percent are willing to make repairs or redecorate in order to attract more interest.

• Among all age groups surveyed, Generations X and Y remain most confident that real estate and property values will recover.

• Confidence among “contemplators” – those who considered buying or selling a home within the past year but didn’t – jumped a full 12 points from Q2 2012 figures.

• Contemplators’ net favorability of the real estate market increased 10 percentage points over Q2 2012 figures. Primary reasons why contemplators haven’t made a move include “waiting for the right opportunity” and “haven’t found the home I want yet.”

• 78 percent of women said homeownership was “very important” vs. 70 percent of men.

“Our survey data shows that people are feeling better about their personal situations and the U.S. economy,” says Stephen Phillips, chief operating officer for HSF Affiliates. “At the same time, respondents’ views of residential real estate have grown increasingly favorable. We believe more consumers will enter the market this year to capitalize on mortgage and pricing opportunities and to secure their part of the American dream.”

An infographic illustrating survey findings is available here.

For more information, visit www.prudentialrealestate.com.

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