The vast majority of Americans believe it’s a good time to buy or sell a home. But their convictions for just how good a time it is have waned.
According to the Q4 Homeownership and Market Experience Home Survey by the National Association of Realtors, 72 percent of people surveyed believe that now is a good time to buy and 43 percent “strongly” hold that sentiment. But the latter is down from just about half in Q3 2017 and down from 45 percent a year ago.
The strongest categories of people who say now is a good time to buy are current homeowners, those over 65 years of age, those with incomes over $100,000, and, more than any other geographical group, Midwesterners. Four in five from each of those categories say it’s a good time to buy, the report stated.
On the selling side, the Q4 2017 numbers are nearly identical. Seventy-one percent of people surveyed say now is a good time to sell a home. That, however, is down from 78, though up from 62 percent a year ago. Forty-three percent strongly believe that, down from 51 percent in Q3.
People in the West were also most likely to say the home values in their communities have gone up since last quarter. Sixty-five percent of renters overall believe prices have increased in the last year. Forty-three percent of respondents believe that prices will stay the same in their communities in the next six months, which is down from 47 percent one year ago. Fifty-two percent believe prices will increase in the next six months, and 6 percent believe prices will go down.
About a third of renters continue to say getting a mortgage would be difficult. More than three-quarters who make less than $50,000 reported feeling the same.
Eighty-five percent of respondents said they would deduct both mortgage interest and property taxes if they bought a new home. However, the report found that if changes were made to these deductions nearly half would experience financial strain.
Overall, fewer people think the U.S. economy is in good shape at the close of 2017. Just above half say the economy is improving. That’s down from 57 percent in Q3 and from 54 percent a year ago. Optimism is highest in the Midwest, in rural areas, and among those with household incomes above $100,000 a year.