A report released by ""Prudential Real Estate"":http://www.prudentialrealestate.com/Newsroom/NewsroomArticles/tabid/95/Article/47/Prudential-Real-Estate-Q4-Consumer-Outlook-Survey-Consumers-Optimistic-About-20.aspx finds that the number of consumers--particularly young ones--who are optimistic about residential real estate took a healthy step higher in December.[IMAGE]
According to Prudential, 78 percent of consumers (and nearly 90 percent of Millennials) surveyed look favorably toward the residential market in 2014. This is a full 5 percentage points more than the company's third-quarter 2013 results and 15 points more than its end-of-year 2012 results. Overall, three-quarters of those likely to buy or sell said they are more committed to completing a deal this year, the survey found.
The rise in confidence is buoyed by a slow-but-steady climb in the U.S. economy and a marketplace flush with good deals for buyers, according to Earl Lee, CEO of Prudential's parent company, ""HSF Affiliates"":http://www.homeservices.com/hsfaffiliates.aspx. ""Consumers understand that the U.S. economy and residential real estate continue moving in positive directions,"" Lee said. ""They're feeling much better about their personal situations and want to take advantage of attractive home prices and interest rates that remain low by historical standards.""
Prudential's findings complement a recent ""Fannie Mae report"":https://themreport.com/articles/consumer-views-on-mortgage-access-economy-improve-2014-02-10 that found more than half of those polled felt it would be easy to get a mortgage in 2014, though Prudential's own findings are closer to 39 percent. Potential buyers are aware of stricter federal lending guidelines that require more financial security from those looking to purchase, forcing more buyers to save up for heftier down payments.
While potential sellers are mostly optimistic that home values will increase this year, they remain guarded after a year in which interest rates rose, the federal government shut down for two weeks, and housing prices remained low in many markets. Fears of a sag in housing prices nationwide ranked as respondents' top concern on the Prudential report, followed swiftly by worries of being able to save a down payment and finding a house in small-inventory markets.
But overall consumer confidence is on the rise, and nearly all those who responded to Prudential's survey said that owning a home is the bedrock of the American Dream. That confidence, to a degree, appears to stem from the fact that buyers and sellers today have access to immense amounts of data on properties, areas, prices and statistics.
""Consumers are increasingly sophisticated about real estate and many come to the table armed with impressive research,"" said Stephen Phillips, COO of HSF Affiliates. However, Phillips cautioned, access to information doesn't replace the need for an experienced, qualified real estate agent to ""pull it all together, assess opportunities, negotiate in good faith and keep everything moving for a successful transaction.""
Surveyed consumers seem to agree. Prudential found that 62 percent of those polled--and 70 percent of Millennials--agree that a good agent is vital to securing a good home.