Economists' Outlook

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REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey: May 2019 Highlights

The REALTORS® Confidence Index (RCI)1  survey 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 May 2019. View and download the full report.

Market Conditions and Expectations

  • The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index registered at 63 (73 in May 2018).3
  • The REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index registered at 49 (44 in May 2018).
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index—Six-Month Outlook Current Conditions registered at 65 for detached single-family, 53 for townhome, and 50 for condominium properties. An index above 50 indicates market conditions are expected to improve.
  • Properties were typically on the market for 26 days (26 days in May 2018).

Eighty-two percent of respondents reported that home prices remained constant or rose in May 2019 compared to levels one year ago (88 percent in May 2018).

Chart: REALTORS® Buyer and Seller Traffic Indices

Characteristics of Buyers and Sellers

  • First-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of sales (31 percent in May 2018).
  • Vacation and investment buyers comprised 13 percent of sales (14 percent in May 2018).
  • Sales of distressed properties (foreclosed or sold as a short sale) accounted for 2 percent of sales (3 percent in May 2018).
  • Cash sales made up 19 percent of sales (21 percent in May 2018).
  • Nineteen percent of sellers offered incentives such as providing warranty (9 percent), paying for closing costs (8 percent), and undertaking remodeling (3 percent).4
Graphic: First-time buyers as percentage of residential sales

Issues Affecting Buyers and Sellers

  • From March 2019–May 2019, 76 percent of contracts settled on time (76 percent in March 2018–May 2018).
  • Among sales that closed in May 2019, 74 percent had contract contingencies. The most common contingencies pertained to home inspection (54 percent), obtaining financing (44 percent), and getting an acceptable appraisal (43 percent).
  • REALTORS® report “low inventory” and “interest rate” as the major issues affecting transactions in May 2019.
House-shaped word cloud

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 May 2019 survey was sent to 50,000 REALTORS® who were selected from NAR’s more than 1.3 million members through simple random sampling and to 10,000 respondents in the previous three surveys who provided their email addresses.
  • There were 4,435 respondents to the online survey which ran from June 1-11, 2019. The survey’s overall margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is one percent. The margins of error for subgroups and sample proportions of below or above 50 percent 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: Data@realtors.org

1Thanks to Gay Cororaton, Research Economist for their data analysis and comments to the RCI Report

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

3An 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.”

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

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