Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey: January 2018 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 January 2018. View and download the full report.

Market Conditions and Expectations

  • The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index registered at 69 (63 in January 2017). 3
  • The REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index registered at 44 (41 in January 2017).
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index—Six-Month Outlook Current Conditions registered at 74 for detached single-family, 61 for townhome, and 60 for condominium properties. An index above 50 indicates market conditions are expected to improve.
  • Properties were typically on the market for 42 days (50 days in January 2017).
  • Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported that home prices remained constant or rose in January 2018 compared to levels one year ago (88% in January 2017).
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Characteristics of Buyers and Sellers

  • First-time buyers accounted for 29% of sales (33% in January 2017).
  • Vacation and investment buyers comprised 17% of sales (16% in January 2017).
  • Sales of distressed properties (foreclosed or sold as a short sale) accounted for 5% of sales (7% in January 2017).
  • Cash sales made up 22% of sales (23% in January 2017).
  • Twenty percent of sellers offered incentives such as paying for closing costs (9%), providing a warranty (9%), undertaking remodeling (3%), and providing appliances (1%)4

Issues Affecting Buyers and Sellers

  • From November 2017–January 2018, 75% of contracts settled on time (67% in January 2017).
  • Among sales that closed in January 2018, 74% had contract contingencies. The most common contingencies pertained to home inspection (58%), getting an acceptable appraisal (44%), and obtaining financing (43%).
  • REALTORS® report "low inventory" and "interest rate" as the major issues affecting transactions in January 2018.

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 January 2018 survey was sent to 50,000 REALTORS® who were selected from NAR’s 1.3 million members through simple random sampling and to 7,120 respondents in the previous three surveys who provided their email addresses.
  • There were 3,595 respondents to the online survey which ran from February 1–8, 2018. 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.