WASHINGTON (March 26, 2018) — New consumer findings from the National Association of Realtors® surprisingly show that while a growing share of households in the first three months of the year feel more confident about the economy and their financial situation, those positive feelings are not translating to positive views that now is a good time to buy a home.
That’s according to NAR’s first quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey1, which also found that homeowners are increasingly positive about selling, and non-homeowners have anxieties about saving for a down payment and qualifying for a mortgage.
Heading into the busy spring buying season, optimism that now is a good time to buy a home is at its lowest share in the past two years (68 percent; 72 percent last quarter). Among renters, feelings about buying are further diminished (55 percent; 60 percent last quarter). Conversely, those most optimistic about buying are homeowners, older respondents and those living in the more affordable Midwest and South regions.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says extremely challenging market conditions to start the year are chipping away at homebuyer optimism. “The critical shortage of listings in most markets continues to spark a hike in home prices that is not easy for many buyers – and especially first-time buyers – to overcome,” he said. “Adding more fuel to the affordability fire is the fact that mortgage rates have shot up to a four-year high in just a few months. Many house hunters are telling Realtors® that they are dispirited by the stiff competition for the short number of listings they can afford.”