In the trade group’s latest Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey
, the 62 percent of respondent households that stated the economy is improving—up from 54 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016, and 48 percent one year earlier. This level of confidence was highest share in the survey’s five-quarter history. On a regional basis, the greatest consumer confidence was found in respondents living in the Midwest (67 percent; 51 percent last quarter) and rural areas (63 percent; 43 percent last quarter).
However, renters were conspicuously less than confident about their homeownership prospects. Fifty-six percent of renters said now is a good time to buy, a drop from the previous quarter (57 percent) and a year ago (62 percent). And 80 percent of homeowners think now is a good time to make a home purchase, up from 78 percent in the previous quarter but down from 82 percent a year earlier.
“Inventory conditions are even worse than a year ago and home prices and mortgage rates are on an uphill climb,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “These factors are giving many renter households a pause about it being a good time to buy, even as their job prospects improve and wages grow. Unless there’s a significant boost in supply levels this spring, these constraints will unfortunately slow or delay some prospective buyers’ pursuit of purchasing a home.”