NAR Survey: Now is the time to buy a home

More than half of Americans recently polled believe that now is a good time to make a home purchase, according to the latest consumer findings from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The 2019 fourth quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey revealed that 63% of people believe now is a good time to buy a home – flat compared to results of the fourth quarter of 2018 – with 33% saying they strongly believe now is a good time to buy.

Regarding selling, 74% of those polled believe that now is a good time to sell – identical to the percentage in the third quarter of 2019.

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 70% of younger boomers born between 1955 and 1964 viewed the market favorably in terms of now being a good time to purchase.

Graphic courtesy of the National Association of Realtors.

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 also concurrently asked about home prices over the past year. About 64% percent 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, with 41% predicting 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 6 months.

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.

Among Millennials, 47% said they believe the economy is. This was the lowest result in all age groups. And just 41% 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 said.