Low mortgage rates are fueling more favorable opinions on home buying. Nearly two-thirds of Americans—or 63%—believe now is a good time to buy a home, shows the National Association of REALTORS®’ newly released Housing Opportunities and Market Experience Survey, reflecting more than 2,700 consumer responses from the third quarter. Thirty-four percent in the third quarter said they “strongly” believe now is a good time to buy, which is down slightly from the previous quarter.
NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun offers a cautionary response to the favorable findings.
“The fact that slightly fewer are expressing strong intensity compared to recent prior quarters is implying some would-be buyers have concerns about the direction of the economy,” Yun says. Fewer of the respondents—52%—believe the U.S. economy is improving. Millennials tended to be the most pessimistic about the direction over the economy.
Still, mortgage rates are at historically low levels, “so I see no sign of the optimism about home buying fading,” Yun adds.
Older consumers with higher incomes tended to be the most optimistic over the prospects of homebuying. The silent generation (those born between 1925 and 1945) were the most upbeat about buying at 75%, followed closely by older baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1954) at 72%, the study showed. Further, 72% of consumers with incomes of $100,000 felt now is a good time to buy compared to 54% of consumers with incomes under $50,000.
“Not surprisingly, as incomes increase, the process of buying a home is less of a strain,” Yun says. “This has always been the case, but in this third-quarter survey, we see it to an even greater extent—high earners are more open to buying a home.”
Consumers shared optimism with the prospect of selling a home, too. Seventy-four percent of respondents said that now is a good time to sell a home, which marks a slight increase from 73% in the last quarter. Broken down further, 45% said they “strongly” believe now is a good time to sell a home, while the remaining 29% said they “moderately” held that belief.
Consumers living in the West were the most likely to say now is a good time to sell at 81%. The Northeast was the least optimistic about selling, but 67% still said now is a good time to sell in the region.
Consumers in the higher wage brackets were the most likely to say now is a good time to sell. Eighty-two percent of respondents who earn more than $100,000 said it’s a good time to sell, compared to 64% who earn less than $50,000.