Realtors’ confidence in the market appears to be increasing; according to the latest Realtor Confidence Index, conducted by the National Associatoin of Realtors, 67 percent of agents expect prices to rise in the months to come. Showing generally positive feedback from more than 4,000 brokers and agents, participating agents continue to show an upswing in market optimism that began at the end Q3 last year.
Confidence in the single-family, townhouse and condo segments all increased in January, according to Real Estate Economy Watch, but confidence was lowest for condos, which still registered 17.9 in the index vs. 10.1 a year ago. Here’s the breakdown by segment:
- Confidence in single-family current market conditions at 37.2 vs. 27 a year ago.
- Confidence in single-family market conditions outlook over next 6 months at 46.1.
- Confidence in townhouse current market conditions at 22.5 vs. 13.3 a year ago.
- Confidence in townhouse market conditions outlook over next six months at 28.7.
- Confidence in condo current market conditions at 17.9 vs. 10.1 a year ago.
- Confidence in condo market conditions outlook over next six months at 23.4.
Realtors participating in the survey also reported that median time on market has declined slightly. Properties on the market more than six months fell from 29 to 28 percent of total inventory. Some 47 percent of listings have been on the market for three months or less, and only 12 percent have been listed more than a year.
While the market share of distress sales rose to 35 percent in January, the percentage of properties purchased by investors rose for the fourth straight month to 23 percent of sales and all cash sales, a barometer of investor activity, accounted for 31 percent of all sales in January. The percentage of sales to first-time buyers rose slightly from December’s level to 33 percent, but normally first time buyers are in the neighborhood of 40 percent of total residential sales, according to NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Second home purchasers accounted for 13 percent of sales, about the same market share as in 2011.
Approximately 60 percent of buyers made down payments less than 11 percent. A total of 35 percent of residential home purchasers were reported as making an initial down payment greater than 20 percent in January 2012 among those obtaining a mortgage.