Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey: September 2017 Highlights

The REALTORS® Confidence Index (RCI) survey1  gathers monthly information from REALTORS® about local real estate market conditions, characteristics of buyers and sellers, and issues affecting homeownership and real estate transactions.2 This report presents key results about market transactions from September 2017. View and download the full report.

Market Conditions and Expectations

• The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index registered at 61 (59 in September 2016).3

• The REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index registered at 45 (44 in September 2016).

• The REALTORS® Confidence Index—Six-Month Outlook Current Conditions registered at 65 for detached single-family, 55 for townhome, and 52 for condominium properties. An index above 50 indicates market conditions are expected to improve.

• Properties were typically on the market for 34 days (38 days in September 2016).

• Eighty-five percent of respondents reported that home prices remained constant or rose in September 2017 compared to levels one year ago (84 percent in September 2016).


Characteristics of Buyers and Sellers

• First-time buyers accounted for 29% of sales (34% in September 2016).

• Vacation and investment buyers comprised 15% of sales (15% in September 2016).

• Sales of distressed properties (foreclosed or sold as a short sale) accounted for 4% of sales (4% in September 2016).

• Cash sales made up 20% of sales (21% in September 2016).

• Twenty percent of sellers offered incentives such as paying for closing costs (8%), providing a warranty (8%), undertaking remodeling (2%), and providing appliances (1%).


Issues Affecting Buyers and Sellers

• From July–September 2017, 73% of contracts settled on time (63% in September 2016).

• Among sales that closed in September 2017, 87% had contract contingencies. The most common contingencies pertained to home inspection (27% ), obtaining financing (22%) and getting an acceptable appraisal (20%)4.

• REALTORS® reported “low inventory” as the major issue affecting transactions in September 2017. REALTORS® also reported concerns regarding the hurricanes’ impact in Texas and Florida.


About the RCI Survey

• The RCI Survey gathers information from REALTORS® about local market conditions based on their client interactions and the characteristics of their most recent sales for the month.

• The September 2017 survey was sent to 75,000 REALTORS® who were selected from NAR’s nearly 1.2 million members through simple random sampling and to 5,543 respondents in the previous three surveys who provided their email addresses.

• There were 2,370 respondents to the online survey which ran from October 2‒12, 2017. The survey’s overall margin of error at the 95% confidence level is 2%. The margins of error for subgroups and sample proportions of below or above 50% are larger.

• NAR weighs the responses by a factor that aligns the sample distribution of responses to the distribution of NAR membership.

The REALTORS® Confidence Index is provided by NAR solely for use as a reference. Resale of any part of this data is prohibited without NAR's prior written consent. For questions on this report or to purchase the RCI series, please email:

1 Thanks to George Ratiu, Managing Director, Housing and Commercial Research and Gay Cororaton, Research Economist for their data analysis and comments to the RCI Report.

2 Respondents report on the most recent characteristics of their most recent sale for the month.

3 An index greater than 50 means more respondents reported conditions as “strong” compared to one year ago than “weak.” An index of 50 indicates a balance of respondents who viewed conditions as “strong” or “weak.”

4 The difference in the sum of percentages to the total percentage of sellers who offered incentives is due to rounding.