Where Millennials Can and Can’t Actually Afford to Buy Homes

With rising housing costs and crippling student loan debt, where can millennials actually afford to buy?

Los Angeles, CA – Nov. 14, 2017 (PRNewswire) Colorado and Oregon are two of the least affordable states for millennials to buy a home, a new study found.

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Unsurprisingly, these states also rank as two of the most popular to move to for the age group.

Personal finance website GOBankingRates considered the median list prices for homes across all 50 states. Based on the median millennial income of $60,932 and a 20 percent monthly savings rate, GOBankingRates calculated the amount of time it would take a millennial to afford a 20 percent down payment, as well as the estimated monthly mortgage payment.

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For full study results and more details on methodology, visit: Where Millennials Can and Can’t Actually Afford to Buy Homes.

Best States for Millennials to Buy a Home

1. West Virginia

  • Median list price: $150,000
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.5 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $693

2. Ohio

  • Median list price: $154,900
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.5 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $704

3. Arkansas

  • Median list price: $164,900
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.7 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $757

4. Indiana

  • Median list price: $167,000
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.7 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $757

5. Iowa

  • Median list price: $169,000
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.8 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $766

Worst States for Millennials to Buy a Home

1. Hawaii

  • Median list price: $599,000
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 9.8 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $2,584

2. California

  • Median list price: $499,950
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 8.2 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $2,168

3. Massachusetts

  • Median list price: $419,900
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 6.9 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $1,833

4. Colorado

  • Median list price: $408,068
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 6.7 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $1,780

5. Oregon

  • Median list price: $352,000
  • Estimated time to save for a down payment: 5.8 years
  • Monthly mortgage payment: $1,551

Additional Study Insights

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas, Washington and Colorado are the top three states where millennials are moving, though none top the list of places to buy.
  • The three cities losing the most millennials are New York, San Diego and Miami.
  • The Bay Area continues to be a hot spot for millennials, with San Francisco and Oakland both in the top 10 cities millennials are moving, despite the high cost of housing.

About GOBankingRates

GOBankingRates.com is a personal finance news and features website dedicated to helping visitors live a richer life. From tips on saving money, to investing for retirement or finding a good interest rate, GOBankingRates helps turn financial goals into milestones and money dreams into realities. Its content is regularly featured on top-tier media outlets, including MSN, MONEY, AOL Finance, CBS MoneyWatch, Business Insider and dozens of others. GOBankingRates specializes in connecting consumers with the financial institutions and products that best match their needs. Start your journey toward a rich mind and full wallet with us here.

Contact

Kim Dahlgren, Media Relations
GOBankingRates.com
kimd@consumertrack.com
(310) 297-9233 x138

84 Percent of Americans See Homeownership as Good Investment, Affordability a Growing Concern

Washington, D.C. – July 12, 2017 (nar.realtor) According to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey, concerns over housing affordability show clear demographic divides especially among unmarried and non-white Americans. More than five out of 10 unmarried and non-white Americans view the lack of available affordable housing as a big problem, compared to only 40 percent of married and white Americans.

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The survey, measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation’s 25 largest metropolitan statistical areas and found that 84 percent of Americans now believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision – the highest number since 2007. Yet six in 10 said that they are concerned about affordability and the rising cost of buying a home or renting in their area. Housing affordability was ranked fourth in the top-five issues Americans face in their area behind the lack of affordable health care; low wages and debt making it hard to save; and heroin and opioid drug abuse, and ahead of job layoffs and employment.

Nationally, 44 percent of respondents categorized the lack of available affordable housing as a very big or fairly big problem. In the top 25 densest markets, more than half see the lack of affordable housing as a big problem, an increase of 11 percentage points from the 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey. Low-income Americans, renters and young women most acutely feel the housing pinch. There is also greater concern about affordable housing among the working class (65 percent) than for public servants such as teachers, firefighters or police (55 percent).

“Despite the growing concern over affordable housing, this survey makes it clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home,” says NAR president William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties.

Eight out of 10 believe that the most important financial reason to own a home is that the money spent on housing goes towards building equity rather than to a property owner. Paying off a mortgage and owning a home by the time you retire is the next most important financial reason for buying a home followed by ownership being a good investment opportunity to build long-term wealth and increase net worth.

When asked about the amount of down payment needed for a mortgage, four in 10 respondents believe that a down payment of 15 percent or more is necessary. Seventy percent feel that a reasonable down payment should be 10 percent or less, according to the survey. Misperceptions about higher down payment requirements were most prevalent in bigger cities and by older adults.

Apparent confusion about down payment requirements most likely added to non-owners concerns about affordability. NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that the median down payment for first-time buyers has been 6 percent for three straight years and 14 percent for repeat buyers in three of the past four years.

Over 50 percent of respondents strongly agree that homeownership helps build safe and secure neighborhoods and provides a stable and safe environment for children and family members.

The survey also found that four in 10 Americans say paying their rent or mortgage is a strain on their budget. Those most likely to say their mortgage is a strain have incomes under $60,000, are residents of New York City or the Pacific coast, are under the age of 50 and non-white. Just over half, 51 percent, of respondents said they were willing to strain their budget for a better living environment and would pick a neighborhood with better schools and job opportunities even if housing prices are a bigger strain on their budget. Those most willing to strain their budget are disproportionately married, upper income and living in the suburbs. Overspending on homes is more prevalent in Northeastern cities (36 percent), the Mountain West (34 percent) and the Pacific coast (33 percent).

The 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program, which aims to position, educate and help Realtors® promote housing opportunities in their community, in both the rental and homeownership sectors of the market. The telephone survey polled 1,500 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Media Contact:

Cole Henry
(202) 383-1290
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Affordability, Tight Supply Cause Vacation Home Sales to Plummet in 2016; Investment Sales Climb 4.5%

Washington, D.C. – April 11, 2017 (nar.realtor) Last year’s strongest pace of home sales in a decade included a sizeable drop in activity from vacation buyers and a jump from individual investors, according to an annual second-home survey released today by the National Association of Realtors®. The survey additionally found that vacation and investment buyers in 2016 were more likely to take out a mortgage and use their property as a short-term rental.

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NAR’s 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey(1), covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2016, revealed that vacation home purchases last year descended to an estimated 721,000, down 21.6 percent from 2015 (920,000) and the lowest since 2013 (717,000).

Investment-home sales in 2016 rose 4.5 percent to 1.14 million from 1.09 million in 2015. Owner-occupied purchases jumped 12.5 percent to 4.21 million last year from 3.74 million in 2015 – the highest level since 2006 (4.82 million).

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says vacation sales in 2016 tumbled for the second consecutive year and have fallen 36 percent from their recent peak high in 2014 (1.13 million). “In several markets in the South and West – the two most popular destinations for vacation buyers – home prices have soared in recent years because substantial buyer demand from strong job growth continues to outstrip the supply of homes for sale,” he said. “With fewer bargain-priced properties to choose from and a growing number of traditional buyers, finding a home for vacation purposes became more difficult and less affordable last year.”

Added Yun, “The volatility seen in the financial markets in late 2015 through the early part of last year also put a dent in sales as some affluent households with money in stocks likely refrained from buying or delayed plans until after the election.”

Tight inventory conditions pushed the median sales price of both vacation and investment homes last year to levels not seen in roughly a decade. The median vacation home price was $200,000, up 4.2 percent from 2015 ($192,000) and the highest since 2006 (also $200,000). The median investment-home sales price was $155,000, up 8.0 percent from 2015 ($143,500) and the highest since 2005 ($183,500).

With home prices steadily rising, an increasing share of second-home buyers financed their purchase last year. The share of vacation buyers who paid fully in cash diminished to 28 percent (38 percent in 2015), while cash purchases by investors decreased to 35 percent from 39 percent in 2015 and 41 percent in 2014.

“Sales to individual investors reached their highest level since 2012 (1.20 million) as investors took advantage of record low mortgage rates and recognized the sizeable demand for renting in their market as renters struggle to become homeowners,” said Yun. “The ability to generate rental income or remodel a home to put back on a market with tight inventory is giving investors increased confidence in their ability to see strong returns in their home purchase.”

Vacation sales accounted for 12 percent of all transactions in 2016, which was the lowest share since 2012 (11 percent) and down from 16 percent in 2015. The portion of investment sales remained unchanged for the third consecutive year at 19 percent, and owner-occupied purchases increased to 70 percent (65 percent in 2015).

Greater interest in short-term rentals; South most popular destination

Given the rising popularity of short-term rentals in locales throughout the country, it’s no surprise there were slightly more investment and vacation buyers renting their property for less than 30 days. Forty-four percent of investors (42 percent in 2015) and 29 percent of vacation buyers (24 percent in 2015) did or tried to rent their property last year and plan to do so in 2017. Twenty-one percent of investment buyers and 15 percent of vacation buyers did not rent their home for short-term purposes last year but plan to try it in 2017.

Vacation buyers’ typically earned $89,900 ($103,700 in 2015), while investment buyers had a household income of $82,000 ($95,800 in 2015). Both were most likely to purchase a single-family home in the South, with vacation buyers preferring a beach location and investors choosing a suburban area.

The top two reasons for buying a vacation home were to use for vacations or as a family retreat (42 percent) and for future retirement (18 percent), while investors mostly bought to generate income through renting (42 percent) and for potential price appreciation (16 percent).

NAR’s 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, conducted in March 2017, surveyed a sample of households that had purchased any type of residential real estate during 2016. The survey sample was drawn from an online panel of U.S. adults monitored and maintained by an established survey research firm. A total of 2,099 qualified adults responded to the survey.

The 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey can be ordered by calling 800-874-6500, or online at www.nar.realtor/prodser.nsf/Research. The report is free to NAR members and accredited media and costs $149.95 for non-members.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1. Vacation homes are recreational property purchased primarily for the buyer’s (or their family’s) personal use, while investment homes are residential property purchased primarily to rent to others, or to hold for other financial or investment purposes. Sales data excludes institutional investment activity.

Home sales were calculated based on a proportion of buyers who bought each respective home type—vacation, investment, and primary residence. The number of purchases for each housing type were calculated using the total number of existing home sales and new homes in 2016. To calculate the difference in the number of purchases in 2015 to 2016, the percent change of each housing type purchased was calculated.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
Email

Rental Affordability is Worst in Minority Neighborhoods

– Renters in black and Hispanic communities spend a larger share of their income on rent than renters in predominantly white communities

– The gap between the share of income needed to pay rent in minority neighborhoods and white neighborhoods has widened over the past five years.

– In housing markets with good prospects for social mobility, the rent burden in minority neighborhoods is especially high.

– Monthly mortgage payments would require a smaller share of income than rent, but high rent burdens make saving for a down payment difficult.

Seattle, WA – March 30, 2017 (PRNewswire) Monthly rent is a bigger financial burden for people living in predominantly black or Hispanic neighborhoods than it is in white neighborhoods, according to a new Zillow analysis(i) of race and housing affordability.

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Nationally, renters in predominantly black neighborhoods can expect to spend 43.7 percent of their income on rent, and renters in Hispanic communities can expect to spend 48.1 percent of their income on rent. In white neighborhoods, renters can expect to spend 30.7 percent of their income on rent, essentially in line with the standard rule of spending about 30 percent of income on housing.

In markets that offer the best opportunities for social mobility(ii), paying the rent in minority communities is an even bigger financial burden, mainly due to significantly lower incomes in these communities. In San Francisco, for example, rent in predominantly black neighborhoods requires nearly three-quarters of the median income there. In largely Hispanic neighborhoods, renters can expect to spend 62.5 percent of their income on monthly rent.

When housing costs consume such a significant share of income, renters often have to make financial sacrifices, like putting off saving for a down payment, medical care and planning for retirement(iii). Homeownership can be an important path to building wealth, but making the transition from renter to homeowner is a bigger financial challenge for renters living in mainly black or Hispanic areas.

“This research sheds light on another example of inequality in the housing market,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Renters in African-American or Hispanic neighborhoods find themselves in a catch-22 situation – while owning a home is a great way to build wealth, you need to save up some cash to be able to buy. If you’re spending close to half of your income on rent, saving up that down payment is going to be incredibly difficult.”

Rent affordability across the nation has diminished since 2011, as housing costs have outpaced income. It has worsened more in minority areas than it has in predominantly white neighborhoods. Over the past five years, the share of household income needed to pay monthly rent in black and Hispanic neighborhoods has increased by four percentage points and seven percentage points, respectively. In white communities, the share of income needed to pay rent has increased by three percentage points.

For those who are able to save up for a down payment and buy a home, monthly mortgage payments are much more affordable than rents across racial communities. In black communities, mortgage payments required 13.6 percent of the median household income. In Hispanic communities, they require 22.8 percent of the median income, and in white communities, 15.2 percent.

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Zillow

Zillow® is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow is a registered trademark of Zillow, Inc.

(i) To estimate the percent of income spent on monthly rent and mortgage payments by racial communities, we categorized census tracts by their racial pluralities. Once census tracts were categorized, we used census tract-level median household income from the U.S. Census Bureau alongside the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) and Zillow Rent Index (ZRI) to calculate rent and mortgage burdens in census tracts. We then aggregated census tracts up to the metropolitan area and national level, requiring that the racial community make up at least 1% of the population in the metro.

(ii) https://www.zillow.com/research/social-mobility-housing-costs-12138/

(iii) https://www.zillow.com/research/rent-burden-sacrifices-9969/

NAR, Realtor.com® Identify Growing Rift Between Housing Availability and Affordability

Washington, D.C. – February 16, 2017 (nar.realtor) Existing-home sales are forecast to expand 1.7 percent in 2017, but a new housing affordability model created jointly by the National Association of Realtors® and realtor.com®, a leading online real estate destination, operated by operated by News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA]; [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc., suggests homebuyers at many income levels could see an inadequate amount of listings on the market within their price range in coming months.

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Using data on mortgages(1), state-level income(2) and listings on realtor.com®, the Realtors® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score is NAR and realtor.com®’s new ongoing monthly research designed to examine affordability conditions at different income percentiles for all active inventory on the market.

The Affordability Distribution Curve (link is external)(3) examines how many listings are affordable to those in a particular income percentile. The Affordability Score (link is external)(4) — varying between zero and two — is a calculation that is equal to twice the area below the Affordability Distribution Curve on a graph. A score of one or higher generally suggests a market where homes for sale are more affordable to households in proportion to their income distribution.

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says a top complaint Realtors® have been hearing from clients is a notable imbalance between what they can afford and what is listed for sale. “Home prices have ascended far past wage growth in much of the country in recent years because not enough homeowners are selling and homebuilders have not boosted production enough to meet rising demand,” he said. “NAR and realtor.com®’s new affordability measure confirms that buyers aren’t exaggerating about the imbalance. Amidst higher home prices and now mortgage rates, households with lower incomes have been able to afford less of all homes on the market last year and so far in 2017.”

Reflecting a growing shortage of accessible inventory for most income groups, the entire Affordability Distribution Curve in January was below the equality line and the gap was generally wider at lower incomes, which indicates even tighter supply conditions. A household in the 35th percentile could afford 28 percent of all listings, a median income household (50th percentile) could afford 46 percent of listings and a household in the 75th percentile was able to afford 74 percent of active listings.

“Consistently strong job gains and a growing share of millennials entering their prime buying years is laying the foundation for robust buyer demand in 2017,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com®, a leading online real estate destination. “However, buyers with a lower maximum affordable price are seeing heavy competition for the fewer listings they can afford. At a time of higher borrowing costs, this situation could affect affordability even more as buyers battle for a smaller pool of homes and bid prices upward.”

Calculating last month’s Affordability Score — two times the area under the Affordability Distribution Curve — further highlights the disjointed rate of accessible supply on the market across the U.S. Swift price growth and higher mortgage rates caused January’s Affordability Score (0.92) to shrink nationally from a year ago (0.97) and also in many states. Only 19 states had a score above one (conditions that are more favorable) and a meager three — North Dakota, Alaska and Wyoming — saw year-over-year gains in their score.

“Heading into the beginning of the spring buying season, available supply is more reachable for aspiring buyers in the upper end of the market and specifically in nearly all Midwestern states,” said Smoke. “Meanwhile, many states in the West and South have seen deteriorating supply levels over the past year. Buyers in these areas should know that it may take longer to find the right home at a price they can afford.”

The states last month with the highest Affordability Score were Indiana (1.23), Ohio (1.22), Iowa (1.18), Kansas (1.17), and Michigan and Missouri (both at 1.14). The states with the lowest Affordability Score were Hawaii (0.52), California (0.60), District of Columbia (0.65), and Montana and Oregon (both at 0.67).

“This shortfall of inventory at a time of healthy job gains in most states is one of the biggest reasons for the depressed share of first-time buyers and the inability for the homeownership rate to rise above its near-record low,” added Yun. “The only prescription to reversing this adverse situation is to build more entry-level and mid-market housing that aligns with current household incomes.”

The new Realtors® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score was created to be a valuable resource for Realtors® and consumers to assess the affordability of markets in different income groups. The research may eventually include metro-level data and will be updated on an ongoing basis at www.nar.realtor.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Realtor.com® is the trusted resource for home buyers, sellers and dreamers, offering the most comprehensive source of for-sale properties, among competing national sites, and the information, tools and professional expertise to help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. It pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today helps make all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit realtor.com®.

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1. Down payment percentages are determined from recently locked mortgages from Optimal Blue to determine the maximum affordable home price. The maximum affordable home price assumes that 30 percent of a purchaser’s income can go to pay for the financing, property tax, homeowner’s insurance costs, and a mortgage insurance premium if the down payment is less than 20 percent. Assumptions are made that homes are financed with a 30-year fixed-rate fully-amortizing mortgage at the prevailing mortgage rate. Mortgage rates are those advertised on realtor.com® during the period analyzed.

2. Income distribution data is collected from Nielsen. Nielsen data is provided as numbers of households within income brackets, which are then calculated to find the percentile within, above, or below any bracket. See detailed methodology here: www.tetrad.com (link is external)

3. The Affordability Distribution Curve gathers income data for households in our desired market and constructs a maximum affordable house price for the income level using a down payment percentage determined from recently originated mortgages from Optimal Blue. Once a maximum affordable house price for a given income percentile is determined, active listings on realtor.com® are reviewed to see what percent of homes on the market are priced less than that maximum affordable house price.

4. The Affordability Score is two times the area under the Affordability Distribution Curve. The score varies between zero and two. A score of zero will result when no household can afford any of the homes that are currently on the market. A score of two will result when all households can afford all of the homes that are currently on the market. A score of one generally suggests a market close to equality, in other words, homes on the market are affordable to households in proportion to their income distribution.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
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Lexie Pucket Holbert
(805) 557-3151
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Home Sales Expected to Expand Modestly in 2017 As Affordability Pressures Temper Buyer Enthusiasm

Washington, D.C. – December 14, 2016 (Realtor.org) Existing-home sales are forecast to muster only a small gain in 2017 because of increasing mortgage rates and shrinking consumer confidence that now is a good time to buy a home, according to new consumer survey findings and a 2017 housing forecast update from the National Association of Realtors®.

In NAR’s fourth quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey (1), respondents were asked about their confidence in the U.S. economy and their housing expectations in 2017.

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With the calendar turning to a new year in a couple weeks, the survey found that a majority of households believes now is a good time to buy a home. However, confidence has retreated by a considerable amount amongst renters. Fifty-seven percent of renters said now is a good time to buy, which is down from 60 percent in September and 68 percent a year ago. Seventy-eight percent of homeowners (unchanged from September; 82 percent in December 2015) think now is a good time to make a home purchase.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says declining affordability in many parts of the country is behind the weakening morale. “Rents and home prices outpacing incomes and scant supply in the affordable price range has been a prominent headwind for many prospective buyers this year,” he said. “Making matters worse, the unwelcoming reality of higher mortgage rates since the election is likely further holding back confidence. Younger households, renters and those living in the costlier West region — where prices have soared in recent months — are the least optimistic about buying.”

Even with this year’s slow dip in buyer enthusiasm, existing-sales are still expected to close 2016 3.3 percent higher than 2015 and reach around 5.42 million — the best year since 2006 (6.47 million). In 2017, sales are forecast to grow roughly 2 percent to around 5.52 million. The national median existing-home price is expected to rise to around 5 percent this year and 4 percent in 2017. By the end of next year, mortgage rates are expected to reach around 4.6 percent, and the Federal Reserve is expected to raise the Fed funds rate a few more times to 1.25 percent.

“Although the economy is expected to continue to expand with around 2 million net new job creations, existing home sales are expected to see little expansion next year because of affordability tensions from rising mortgage rates and prices continuing to outpace income growth,” said Yun.

Despite these headwinds, Yun is hopeful that the continued job growth, any economic stimulus from the new administration and more millennials reaching their prime buying years will keep demand for the most part on solid footing. The key will ultimately come down to what the housing market desperately needs: more inventory. However, more expensive mortgage rates could also slow the pace of homeowners listing their home for sale.

“Some would-be sellers may be reluctant to move up or trade down — especially if they’ve refinanced in recent years,” said Yun. “That’s why it’s extremely necessary for homebuilders to step-up their production of homes catered to buyers in the affordable price range. Otherwise the nation’s low homeownership rate will struggle to shift higher in 2017.”

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says buyers searching for available homes in a tight market next year can get ahead by working with a Realtor® who’s very familiar with the buyers’ targeted area. “A Realtor® will have their pulse on current market conditions and can ensure a buyer is only searching for and making offers on a home that fits within the budget.”

Brighter enthusiasm about the direction of the economy, personal financial outlook mostly unchanged

This quarter’s survey found that another full year of robust job gains and lower unemployment is finally translating into stronger confidence about the economy. The share of households believing the economy is improving has increased quite a bit (to 54 percent) since the third quarter (48 percent), and is currently at its highest share since the survey’s debut a year ago. The most optimistic about the economy are those under the age of 44, living in urban areas and with higher incomes.

The HOME survey’s monthly Personal Financial Outlook Index, (2) showing respondents’ confidence that their financial situation will be better in six months, has picked up a tad (to 59.8 in December) since September (58.6) and is mostly in line with the sentiment from respondents a year ago (59.6). In 2016, the index was its highest in May (61.1).

Roughly two-thirds think it’s a good time to sell, most expect prices to hold steady or increase

With price growth holding steady in most of the country since the summer, roughly the same amount of homeowners (62 percent) believe it is a good time to sell compared to the third quarter of this year (63 percent). As has been the case all year, respondents in the West continue to be the most likely to think now is a good time to sell, while also being the least likely to think it’s a good time to buy.

Mirroring current conditions in most markets and unchanged from last quarter, nearly all of those surveyed (91 percent) believe that prices will stay the same or rise in their community in the next six months. Respondents living in suburban areas, renters and those from the West are most likely to believe prices will go up in their communities.

About NAR’s HOME survey

In October through early December 2016, a sample of U.S. households was surveyed via random-digit dial, including half via cell phones and the other half via land lines. The survey was conducted by an established survey research firm, TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. Each month approximately 900 qualified households responded to the survey. The data was compiled for this report and a total of 2,776 household responses are represented.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1. NAR’s Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey tracks topical real estate trends, including current renters and homeowners’ views and aspirations regarding homeownership, whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell a home, and expectations and experiences in the mortgage market. New questions are added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting real estate.

HOME survey data is collected on a monthly basis and will be reported each quarter. New questions will be added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting the real estate marketplace. The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

2. Index ranges between 0 and 100: 0 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be worse in 6 months; 50 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be about the same in 6 months; 100 = all respondents believe their personal situation will be better in 6 months.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
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