Many homeowners have been reluctant to list their homes for sale—some by choice, some for fear of being unable to afford a new home, or of coming out in the red.
Recently released findings from a survey by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) show more homeowners are ready to move on and unload…or, at least, say they are. Seventy-one percent of survey respondents for the quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) report believe now is a good time to sell, an increase from 69 percent the previous quarter and 61 percent the one year ago.
“There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth. Perhaps this notable uptick in seller confidence will translate to more added inventory later this year. Low housing turnover is one of the roots of the ongoing supply and affordability problems plaguing many markets.”
Renters, however, are less sure about their home-buying prospects. Fifty-two percent of renters surveyed believe now is a good time to buy a home, a decrease from 56 percent the previous quarter and 62 percent one year ago. Eighty percent of homeowners surveyed, to compare, believe now is a good time to buy. Forty-two percent of respondents believe homes are affordable, with respondents living in the Midwest most likely to believe homes are affordable and respondents living in the West least likely to believe homes are affordable.
Survey respondents are reining in their optimism in the economy, as well, according to the report. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed believe the economy is improving, which is in contrast to a record 62 percent the previous quarter. (Homeowners, notably, tend to be more optimistic about the economy.) The survey’s Personal Financial Outlook Index, which gauges respondents’ sentiment on their financial situation over the next six months, dropped to 57.2 in June.
“It should come as little surprise that the confidence reading among renters has fallen every month since January (64.8) and currently sits at its lowest level (53.8) since tracking began in March 2015 (65.7),” Yun says. “Paying more in rent each year and seeing home prices outpace their incomes is discouraging, and it’s unfortunately pushing homeownership further away—especially for those living in expensive metro areas on the East and West Coast.”
Twenty-percent of respondents, especially those with annual incomes less than $50,000 and/or under age 34, would consider moving to a more affordable area.
“Areas with strong job markets but high home prices risk a migration of middle-class households to other parts of the country if rising housing costs in those areas are not contained through a significant ramp-up in new home construction,” Yun says.
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