The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) just released its quarterly Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey for Q4 2018. (NAR has been conducting this specific survey since 2015.) Basically, NAR’s intent here is to take the temperature of the housing market from the consumer’s point of view.

According to this latest HOME research, 63% of Americans think that now is a good time to purchase a house. Among that 63%, 34% strongly believe that now is a good time to buy and 29% moderately believe now is a good time to buy. Conversely, 37% of survey respondents think now is not a good time to buy.

(Recent data released by Fannie Mae concurs…this source indicates that more of its respondents think that now is not a good time to buy…home owning is too expensive in relation to income, there are few entry-level homes for sale, and fewer respondents in Q4 compared to Q3 2018 say they can afford to buy what’s on the market.)

The selling side of this equation looks very different. According to NAR’s HOME survey, 73% of all respondents of all ages from young to old, 71% to 76% respectively) think now is a good time to sell.

Asked whether or not consumers thought home prices would increase, decrease or stay the same during the next 6 months, 41% said home prices would remain pretty much the same in their communities. 48% said prices would go up in their communities and 11% said prices would go down. (Homeowners living in the West, those earning $100,000 and up and those currently renting believe prices will go up over the next 6 months.

Asked whether or not it would be difficult to qualify for a home purchase mortgage loan based upon their current financial situation, 59% of non-homeowners said it would be either very difficult to qualify (29%) or moderately difficult (30%) to qualify. 37% of non-homeowners living in rural locations said it would be most difficult to qualify and 35% of non-homeowners living in the Southern region of country said it would be most difficult to qualify.

How do Q4 2018 housing consumers feel about the US economy over these next 6 months? 59% in Q4 2018 compared with 52% in Q4 2018 of consumers think the economy is improving. 56% of those 65 years and older, more so than other ages, are optimistic about the economy as are those earning $50,000 and more per year. People living in rural locations are the most optimistic of all about the economy…71% think the economy is improving.

The category of Personal Financial Outlook Index within NAR’s broader HOME Survey suggests the following:

  • Scores under 50 – personal finances will be worse
  • Scores between 50 – 60 – personal finances will be the same
  • Scores above 61 – personal finances will be better

By area:

– Urban – 59.1

– Suburban – 60.7

– Rural – 61.8

By income:

Under $30,000 – 52.8

$30,000 – $50,000 – 58.4

$50,000 – $75,000 – 60.8

$75,000+ – 64.4

By age:

18-24 – 60.8

25- 44 – 66.9

45 – 64 – 65.8

65+ – 53.4%

NAR commissioned this study to be done by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence