As confidence in the economy grows, so do the number of potential home buyers that say they’re ready to enter the housing market. According to a new survey from PulteGroup, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, 74 percent of Americans say the economy has remained steady or improved in the last year and 57 percent think now is a good or excellent time to purchase items they need or want. And buying a home ranks high on the list of things Americans want. Among respondents, 67 percent said they plan to purchase a home in the future with 32 percent looking to buy within the next two years. Margaret Gramann, senior vice president of sales for PulteGroup, said Americans have a growing sense of optimism that the housing market is improving and that these positive changes may be sustainable. And that growing sense of optimism has boosted their interest in buying a home, with 41 percent of respondents indicating that their interest has increased over the past year. Needing more space and the view that owning a home is a smart financial investment were the top two reasons cited by participants as spurring their interest in buying a home. More here.
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A majority of Americans believe that home prices in their area will rise over the next year, according to a new survey from Gallup. The survey found 56 percent of Americans say they expect average prices to increase, which is up from an all-time low of 21 percent in 2011. It is also five times the number that say prices will fall. The results of Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance poll are further evidence that optimism about the housing market continues to build after experiencing sharp declines following the housing crash. Americans are confident that prices will keep trending upward and that now is a good time to capitalize by purchasing a home. In fact, 74 percent of respondents said it was a good time to buy a house, which is among the most positive readings in survey history. The number of Americans who think now is the time to buy has been climbing in recent years after dropping to 52 percent in 2006. According to Gallup, Americans’ view of the housing market has mostly recovered from the lows seen during the downturn. People feel the worst is over but prices aren’t yet overvalued. This perception is partly responsible for the expectation that this spring and summer will see an increase in home sales. More here.
The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index measures builder confidence in the market for newly-built, single-family homes. The index gauges builders’ perceptions of current sales, buyer traffic, and expectations for the next six month on a scale where any number above 50 indicates more builders view the market as good than poor. In March, the index rose a point to 47 after a 10-point drop in February resulted in the first monthly reading below 50 since May of last year. Kevin Kelly, NAHB’s chairman, said the March reading mirrors last month’s sentiment, as builders continue to be affected by poor weather and difficulty finding available lots and labor. The results of the index’s individual components show increasing optimism about current conditions and traffic but concerns over future sales. Still, despite falling, the component tracking sales expectations over the next six months remains in positive territory with a reading of 53. Regionally, three-month moving averages for the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West all declined in March. More here.
Since hitting its recent peak of 58 last August, builder confidence has remained above 50 through the fall and early winter, according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. In fact, the index – which measures confidence on a scale where any number above 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor – remained high through January, when it showed a reading of 56. But harsh winter weather took a toll on optimism in February, contributing to an unexpected 10-point drop in the index. Kevin Kelly, NAHB’s chairman, said significant weather conditions across most of the country led to a decline in buyer traffic which, combined with concerns about the availability of skilled workers, developed lots, and building materials, led to the dip in confidence. The results show builders less confident across all three major components of the index, though the components measuring current conditions and future sales expectations remained above 50 despite the declines. More here.
Though prices usually weaken at the end of the year, the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show year-over-year increases of nearly 14 percent in both the 10-city and 20-city Composites through the end of November 2013. The gains continue the upward trend of year-over-year improvement that began in June 2012. David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said home prices continue to rise despite last May’s jump in mortgage rates. According to Blitzer, mortgage applications for purchase were up in recent weeks which validates home builders’ optimism as seen in the most recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders. Combined with low inflation, homeowners are enjoying real appreciation and rising equity values, Blitzer said. Though home price increases are expected to moderate this year, Blitzer feels housing will make further contributions to the economy in 2014. More here.
The number of Americans who say they’d buy, rather than rent, if they were going to move increased during the month of September, according to Fannie Mae’s September 2013 National Housing Survey. The survey, which polls 1,000 Americans every month via telephone to assess their attitudes toward owning, renting, prices, mortgage rates, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence, found 69 percent of respondents say they’d prefer to buy a home over renting. The number who said they felt it was a good time to buy a house also rose, increasing to 72 percent. Still, the level of optimism about the overall economy has begun to plateau after recent improvements. According to Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, September’s results reflect Americans’ uncertainty about economic policy leading up to the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate. The survey shows that the improvements in consumer housing attitudes witnessed in recent months softened ahead of the government shutdown, Duncan said. How these fiscal policy issues are addressed could impact Americans’ attitudes and influence the economic and housing recovery in October and beyond. More here.
Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey polls Americans each month to assess their perception of the housing market, including attitudes toward owning or renting a home, price and rate changes, consumer confidence, household finances, and the overall economy. According to the results of the most recent survey, Americans’ optimism about housing growth has begun to plateau after trending upward since the beginning of the year. Still, a majority of respondents say now is a good time to buy a home and the number who said they’d prefer to buy if they had to move increased from last month. The percentage of people who believe it’d be easy for them to get a home mortgage also increased from the previous month’s survey. Overall, participants said they think home prices and rent will rise over the next year, while the number of people who said mortgage rates would increase over the same time period fell slightly from the month before. More here.