High Expectations Fueling Confidence of U.S. Homeowners and Renters

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Nationwide, housing confidence rebounded at the start of the 2019 home-buying season. Despite lowered tax incentives for homeownership, optimism about future home values has spread more widely since last year, and a multi-year downtrend in home-buying sentiment has come to a halt.

BOSTON, June 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --

Pulsenomics® today released the latest updates to the U.S. Housing Confidence Index ™ (HCI) and Transaction Sentiment Index ™ (TSI), unique gauges of homeowner and renter mindsets concerning real estate market conditions, price expectations, homeownership affordability and aspirations. These attitudes, which vary by geographic market and household profile, affect consumer economic behavior and can signal future changes in home prices and transaction volume. These indices summarize and track responses to the biannual U.S. Housing Confidence Survey ™ (HCS), completed by 15,500 households across the country.

"Moderating home price growth, falling mortgage rates, and solid wage gains in Q1 have stoked housing expectations and homeownership aspirations," said Pulsenomics® founder, Terry Loebs. Home sales volume has been sluggish so far this year, but Loebs suggested that recent attitudinal shifts recorded among homeowners and renters are healthy and likely foreshadow a pick-up in transactions. "Although our research confirms significant variation in housing confidence and transaction sentiments by market and household category, overall, these latest index data point to an improving balance of power between real estate buyers and sellers. Across the larger markets we track, home-selling sentiment has weakened a bit in recent months, but the majority of homeowners still believe that, where they live, now is a good time to sell a home. At the same time, a years-long downward trend in home-buying sentiment has come to a halt, as prospective purchasers have been encouraged by the combination of slower price growth and low mortgage rates," Loebs said.

The latest Pulsenomics index data also reveal that housing confidence among prospective first-time homebuyers has been resilient in the face of significant financial hurdles such as student loan debt. "Contrary to some popular narratives, the majority of Gen Z and millennial renters are looking forward to homeownership, are confident they'll be able to afford it, and say that when the time comes to buy, they will favor living in suburbia," Loebs explained.

Despite limited inventory of entry-level homes and concerns that the 2017 tax act might dent home-buying enthusiasm this year, overall, consumer assessments of local real estate market conditions, and their outlook for home price appreciation and affordability remains upbeat nationwide. Compared to last spring, more U.S. households expect price increases in their local real estate market will easily exceed the rate of inflation in the broader economy over the coming decade, and more of them are optimistic that in the long run, homeownership will be affordable and deliver significant investment value.

Pulsenomics adviser Robert Shiller was struck by the robust outlook consumers have for near-term and long-run home value appreciation. The Nobel laureate and Yale professor of economics opined, "At an average rate of more than six percent, household expectations for home prices over the next twelve months are remarkably high. But the expectations over the next ten years--at 2.7 percent a year nationwide--are entirely tame and reasonable, just a little over the 2 percent target inflation rate set by the Federal Reserve." Shiller concluded, "I would say that households nationwide are showing here a healthy optimism, but none of the extreme expectations seen in the runup to the 2008-9 financial crisis."