News & Media

NAR 3Q Survey: Most Americans Say ‘Good Time to Buy’

63% believe it’s a good time to buy a home, and 34% believe that strongly. Mortgage rates are at historic lows, and NAR Economist Yun sees no sign of optimism fading, though a strong-intensity dip could indicate “concerns about the direction of the economy.”

WASHINGTON – New consumer findings from the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) third-quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey find that more than half of polled Americans believe it’s a good time to buy a home.

Optimism fared well in the third quarter of 2019 as 63% of people said they believe that now is a good time for a home purchase, with 34% of those respondents saying they believe that strongly.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the favorable outlook also contains a degree of caution.

“Mortgage rates are at historically low levels, so I see no sign of the optimism about home buying fading,” he says. “However, the fact that slightly fewer (Americans) are expressing strong intensity compared to recent prior quarters is implying some would-be buyers have concerns about the direction of the economy.”

Among those that stated that now is a good time to purchase a home, the silent generation (those born between 1925 and 1945) were most likely to express that belief. Seventy-five percent from that demographic said that now is a good time to buy. They were closely followed by older boomers (those born between 1946 and 1954), as 72% from that age group agreed that now is a good time to purchase a home.

Asked whether now is a good time to purchase a home, 54% of those who have an income under $50,000 answered “yes,” and optimism increased as household incomes increased. In the $50,000 to $100,000 bracket, 64% said it’s a good time to buy a home; and among those who have an income of $100,000, 72% said that it’s a good time to buy.

“Not surprisingly, as incomes increase, the process of buying a home is less of a strain,” says Yun. “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.”

Selling a home
The NAR survey also asked respondents about their thoughts on selling a home in the current market: 74% said now is a good time to sell a home – a modest increase over 73% last quarter. Of those respondents, 45% said they “strongly” believe it’s a good time to sell, while the remaining 29% said they hold that belief “moderately.”

Sellers in the West region were most likely to hold this sentiment, and 81% said “now is a good time to sell.” In comparison, 67% in the Northeast said now is a good time to sell a home.

In regard to selling, the poll found that those in the higher wage brackets were more likely to state a belief that it’s a good time to sell a home: 82% of those who earn more than $100,000. However, of those who earn less than $50,000, only 64% said it’s a good time to sell.

Economic outlook
Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said they believe the U.S. economy is improving – more than half but still a decrease from the second quarter of 2019, when 55% said they believed the economy is improving.

Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1998) were the most pessimistic. Only 49% said the economy is improving while 51% said it’s not improving. Of those in the silent generation, 54% said the economy is improving. By location, 40% of those in urban areas believe the economy is improving compared to 62% in rural areas.

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