As inventory increases and home prices settle around the country, sixty-five percent of buyers are optimistic about purchasing a home this year, according to the first quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey from the National Association of REALTORS. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, notes, “Inventory has been rising, so those buyers interested in making a purchase will not be limited in choices.” In January alone, existing-home inventory jumped from 1.52 million to 1.59 million units. Yun continues, “Additionally, more stable home price trends are leading to more foot traffic at various open house gatherings.”
The NAR survey indicates that 61 percent of homeowners believe home prices in their communities have increased in value, and 47 percent believe prices will continue to rise over the next six months. In the West, January home prices showed a 2.4 percent increase over the same time last year.
Another factor benefitting American homebuyers is lower mortgage rates, which the Federal Reserve has announced it intends to leave unchanged in 2019. According to Yun, “The Federal Reserve’s decision to refrain from any foreseeable rate hikes was beneficial to potential buyers. That move directly contributed to mortgage rates declining in quarter one, which provided a second-chance opportunity to those looking to buy who were priced out last quarter.” Many buyers have renewed hope that they will be able to find a home in their price range this year.