Vital signs for sellers and buyers across America were taken recently and the results were released in the National Association of Realtors second quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey.

Results from the survey reveal the pulse for 75 percent of Americans beats in rhythm with now being a good time to sell. Simultaneously, the temperature amongst 68 percent of buyers believe now is a good time to buy.

NAR’s second quarter HOME survey also found that a majority of consumers recognize that home prices have risen and they anticipate continued price appreciation.

On the selling side, with home prices across the country continuing to increase, the number of respondents who believe now is a good time to sell remains high with 46 percent strongly agreeing, up from 42 percent last quarter, and 29 percent moderately agreeing.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says, “Hopefully this strong seller optimism will lead to an increase in inventory later on in the year.”

When asked about their perception of home prices in their communities, 68 percent of respondents said they believe that home prices have gone up in their area in the last 12 months. That’s up from 63 percent last quarter. Also of note are the 55 percent who believe home prices will continue to increase in their communities in the next six months, also up from the previous quarter’s 53 percent.

On the buying side results from the second quarter’s HOME survey indicate only 39 percent strongly agree that now is a good time to buy, while 29 percent moderately agree. Positive sentiments towards buying a home among renters have decreased from 55 percent in the first quarter to 49 percent this quarter. The highest level of buyer optimism is 73 percent for buyers who are 65 or older.

Yun says affordability and low inventory are chipping away at buyer confidence, “Inventory remains the driving force in real estate, affecting everything from rising prices to household formation. Improving supply conditions is critical to improving buyer optimism and helping to remove some of the barriers holding back potential first-time buyers.”

When asked about their perception of the future of the economy 58 percent of households responding believe the economy is improving — down slightly from 60 percent last quarter, up from 54 percent last year. Respondents from rural areas are more likely to view the economy as improving (63 percent) than in urban areas (51 percent).

The HOME survey’s monthly Personal Financial Outlook Index, showing respondents’ confidence that their financial situation will be better in six months, dropped slightly from 63.8 in March to 62.1 in June. A year ago, the index was 57.2.

On the home mortgage front, 46 percent of those surveyed say they do not believe it would be difficult to obtain a mortgage, up from 36 percent last quarter.

“This is most likely a reflection of the current positive outlook on the direction of the economy,” said Yun. “Healthy job creation and faster wage growth mean that homeownership is viewed as a more attainable goal than it was a year ago.”

Respondents were also asked if homeownership will be easier or harder to attain for future generations. Seventy-three percent believe that it will be harder for future generations to purchase a home, compared to only 11 percent who think it will be easier. Seventy-four percent of respondents 34 or under believe it will be more difficult to become homeowners.

Data from NAR’s second quarter HOME Survey provides a glimpse into consumer’s current perceptions about selling and buying real estate. In a week or so results from actual second quarter sales will be released.

Check back in late July for a rundown of national, regional, statewide and Midcoast home sales results. In the meantime, if you or someone you know is considering selling or buying real estate, talk with your trusted, expert Realtor.

This column is produced by Rick Bisson and his family, who own Bisson Real Estate with Keller Williams Realty of Midcoast and Sugarloaf.

They can be reached at: [email protected]


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