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Home Inventory’s Effect on Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence is up across the country, especially in rural and middle America. According to a new consumer survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), many people believe now is a good time to buy and sell.

"Confidence levels generally rise after a presidential election as the nation hopes for the best. Even though it is a highly polarized country, consumers for the most part have upbeat feelings about the economy right now," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Stronger business and consumer morale typically lead to even more hiring and spending, which in turn encourages more households to make big decisions like buying a home. These positive developments would be especially good news for prospective homebuyers in the more affordable Midwest region."

Though positive sentiment about the economy is up, the same can’t be said for renters. Fifty-six percent of renters feel that now is a good time to buy a home, which is down from 57 percent last quarter, and down even further from 62 percent a year ago. Comparatively, 80 percent of homeowners feel now is a good time to buy.

The biggest concern right now is a low inventory. At the end of January, inventory was at 1.69 million, which is 7.1 percent lower than a year ago. Inventory has fallen year-over-year for 20 straight months.

"You can't buy what's not for sale," says The Collingwood Group Chairman Tim Rood. "Inventory is the lowest that I have ever seen which is reflected in the disappointing existing home sales number. Home price appreciation rates remain on a tear but will surely slow given rising rates and flat income growth."

A notable bump in respondents who believe now is a good time to sell could alleviate the inventory concern. NAR President William E. Brown said homeowners looking to sell could find themselves in a tricky spot if they’re not careful. "Demand far outpaces supply in many parts of the country right now, which means homeowners will likely sell their home much quicker than the time it takes to buy another," he said.

Read NAR’s 2017 Q1 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience Survey here.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing. He is a contributing writer for MReport. An East Texas Native, he has studied abroad in Athens, Greece and works part-time as a photographer.
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