Buyers are undeterred ahead of the spring season

by Steve Randall20 Mar 2019

As we head into the spring home buying season, optimism among buyers has increased.

More than a third of people (37%) surveyed for the NAR’s Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey said that now is a good time to buy, up from 34% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and beating the 35% who said it was not a good time to buy (down from 37% in Q4 2018).

“Inventory has been rising, so those buyers interested in making a purchase will not be limited in choices. Additionally, more stable home price trends are leading to more foot traffic at various open house gatherings," noted NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Sentiment has weaker than a year ago though when 38% thought it was a good time to buy.

Respondents are split on the wider economy with 53% thinking it is improving (down from 59% in Q4 2018). Those who earn $100K+ and those in rural areas are more optimistic about the economy than the wider population.

Most respondents said that home prices in their communities have risen in the past 12 months but the 61% share was down from 64% in Q4 2018.

Forty-three percent said they expect prices in their communities to stay the same over the next six months, but 47% believe prices will rise in the coming six months, while 10% believe prices will drop in the next six months.

Mortgage rates favorable
While 27% of those who do not currently own a home think that their financial situation would make it very difficult to qualify for a mortgage and 28% thought it would be somewhat difficult; 24% said they would expect no difficulty, improving on the 21% who said so in Q4 2018 and 19% who said that a year ago.

Lawrence Yun says mortgage affordability has improved and is now more favorable for first-time homebuyers.

"The Federal Reserve's decision to refrain from any foreseeable rate hikes was beneficial to potential buyers," he said. "That move directly contributed to mortgage rates declining in quarter one, which provided a second-chance opportunity to those looking to buy who were priced out last quarter."


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