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Realtors: Buyer confidence in housing market falls

The economy has been doing well, according to economists. This factor alone should, in theory, make most people more confident about their ability to buy a home.

But according to the most recent consumer survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), would-be homebuyers have been losing confidence.

housemarketNAR randomly contacts households each month via telephone and reports the results quarterly. In the January through March period, people were still broadly confident about their ability to buy a home. Some 68 percent indicated they were optimistic. This share, however, was down 4 percentage points from the previous quarter and the lowest share in two years.

The primary problem, according to NAR, remains a dearth of homes for sale at the lower end of the market. The most optimistic group tends to be older people, who currently own a home and live in the South and the Midwest regions, where home prices are more affordable. People who are under the age of 34, and people residing in urban areas, tend to be less optimistic about their homebuying prospects.

Renters were especially pessimistic about the market. Just 55 percent indicated it was a good time to buy, down from 60 percent in the prior quarter, NAR said.

 “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,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR.

“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,” Yun said. “Many house hunters are telling Realtors that they are dispirited by the stiff competition for the short number of listings they can afford.”

On the other hand, some 74 percent of people believed it was a good time to sell a home, which was the second highest share since the survey began in December 2015. The survey results were based on a total of 2,702 household responses. 


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