HOME Survey: Economic and Financial Outlook, Attitudes About Home Buying and Selling on the Rise

Washington, D.C. – September 25, 2017 (nar.realtor) Existing-homes sales have retreated in four of the past five months, but new survey findings from the National Association of Realtors® indicate it is not because of a lack of confidence from consumers about buying and selling a home, or based on their views about the direction of the economy and their finances.

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That’s according to NAR’s third quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey(1) , which also found that two-thirds of households think saving for a down payment is challenging, and roughly half of renters expect to pay more in rent next year.

This quarter, there appears to be a revival from renters that now is a good time to buy a home. After dipping to roughly half of renters last quarter (52 percent), the share who believe now is a good time climbed to 62 percent (60 percent a year ago). Overall, current homeowners (80 percent), households with higher incomes and those living in the more affordable Midwest and South regions are the most optimistic about buying right now.

Amidst the steady gains in home values seen in many parts of the country, the share of homeowners that believe now is a good time to sell is also inching higher. Eighty percent of homeowners think now is a good time to list their home for sale (a new survey high), which is up from last quarter (75 percent) and even more so than a year ago (67 percent).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says it is great news that homebuyer and seller optimism is advancing, but it remains unclear if it will actually translate to more sales. “The housing market has been in a funk since early spring because of the ongoing scarcity of new and existing homes for sale,” he said. “The pace of new home construction has not meaningfully broken out this year, and not enough homeowners at this point have followed through with their belief that now is a good time to sell. As a result, home shoppers have seen limited options, stiff competition and weakening affordability conditions.”

Added Yun, “Buyer demand is robust this fall, but the disappointing reality is that sales will continue to undershoot their full potential until supply levels significantly improve.”

Economic and financial outlook brightens

More households this quarter (57 percent) believe the economy is improving compared to the second quarter (54 percent) and a year ago (48 percent). Continuing the complete reversal from a year ago, those living in rural and suburban areas were more optimistic about the economy than respondents residing in urban areas. A majority of homeowners and those with incomes above $50,000 also had a positive outlook on the economy.

The rebound in economic confidence this quarter are also giving households increased assurances about their financial situation. The HOME survey’s monthly Personal Financial Outlook Index2, showing respondents’ confidence that their financial situation will be better in six months, jumped from 57.2 in June to 62.0 in September. A year ago, the index was 58.6.

“Jobs are plentiful, wage growth is finally showing signs of life, home values are up considerably in the past five years and the stock market is at record highs,” said Yun. “The economy is not perfect, and growth overall is still sluggish, but the financial health of the typical household looks as healthy as it has since the recession.”

Most renters likely to continue renting – even if their rent increases

This quarter, non-homeowners were asked if they expect their rent to increase over the next year, and given their current financial situation, what impact paying more in rent would have on their living arrangements.

Roughly half of current renters expect to pay more in rent next year (51 percent). If in fact their rent does increase, most will either resign their lease anyway (42 percent) or move to a cheaper rental. Only 15 percent of respondents will consider buying a home.

“Even though the typical down payment of a first-time buyer has been 6 percent for three straight years, two-thirds of respondents indicated that saving for one is difficult right now,” said Yun. “Rents and home prices have outpaced incomes in the past few years, and this is undoubtedly impacting their ability to put aside savings for a home purchase, even if they increasingly believe it’s a good time to buy. Heading into next year, higher home prices and limited inventory in the affordable price range will likely continue to hold back a share of renters who would prefer to be homeowners.”

About NAR’s HOME survey
In July through early September, a sample of U.S. households was surveyed via random-digit dial, including a mix of cell phones and 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 2,709 household responses are represented.

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. 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 Monday, June 12, 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
Email

Realtors® Have a Positive Outlook for Commercial Markets in 2017

Washington, D.C. – May 19, 2017 (nar.realtor) While challenges face commercial real estate markets, Realtors® specializing in the sector should have confidence that growth will continue. That’s according to speakers at a commercial economic issues and trends forum at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun led a panel discussion about the economic forces shaping commercial real estate markets; the panelists agreed that the market has improved and that continued growth in the economy will further drive activity, but difficulties remain regarding availability of financing for smaller commercial properties.

George Ratiu, NAR director of quantitative and commercial research, said that increased trade and the rise of e-commerce has boosted rents in the industrial and warehouse sector. “During a time of transformation in consumer shopping habit, vacancy rates will still continue to see a gradual decline in warehousing and strong rent growth will continue,” he said.

Unemployment has declined to 4.4 percent and consumer confidence is at its highest point in 15 years. As the economy improves, the commercial real estate market has continued to improve as well, said Yun. “A rising interest rate environment is likely to halt commercial price growth or even cause a minor decline; that outlook is supported by the expanding economy and the over 2 million jobs gained in the past year,” he said.

Looking at the global market, Ratiu explained that global commercial investors have hit the pause button on investments, which in the first quarter of 2017 decreased nearly 20 percent year-over-year; however, certain U.S. markets are seeing good global cash flow with $76 billion flowing to the U.S. “Overall global investments are down, while the San Francisco, Dallas, Charlotte, Houston and Baltimore markets have experienced large sales volume gains,” he said.

With the blip in overall global investments in the first quarter, international buyers are likely to play a greater role in the U.S. market this year. “Over the past five years, a near majority of Realtors® experienced an increase in the number of international clients. We expect international buying activity to grow in 2017, which will have an overall positive impact on the commercial market’s gradual recovery,” said Yun.

One major hurdle that continues to affect the market is the lack of available financing to small commercial real estate investors, due in large part to regulatory uncertainty.

“Realtors® are seeing evidence of markets being impacted by regulators’ increased scrutiny of banks’ balance sheet allocations to commercial real estate loans,” said Ratiu. “Considering that 64 percent of Realtor® clients get their financing from banks, this is likely to impact deal flow as lending conditions tightened in 37 percent of Realtors®’ markets, a four percent increase from last year.”

John Worth, senior vice president of research and investor outreach at the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, discussed the performance of commercial real estate investment and its status among other investment sectors. “Real estate investment is currently the best performing asset class. Strong returns and the level of new commercial supply we are seeing today is making up for a lot of missing sectors, following the economic downturn. The first quarter of this year saw a slight decrease, but 2017 is experiencing an overall healthy trend,” he said.

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

Commercial Markets Poised for Growth Despite Weaker Global Economy

Washington, D.C. – February 19, 2015 (Realtor.org) A stronger labor market and stable U.S. economy should keep commercial real estate demand on the rise, but the pace of growth will likely be hindered by overseas weakness, according to the National Association of Realtors® quarterly commercial real estate forecast.

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National office vacancy rates are forecast to slightly decrease 0.1 percent over the coming year as improved hiring increases the demand for office space. The vacancy rate for industrial space is expected to decline 0.4 percent and retail space 0.3 percent as manufacturers boost production for goods and services and consumers slightly accelerate their spending. A swath of new apartment construction coming onto the market is forecast to lead to an uptick (0.1 percent) in the multifamily vacancy rate.

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, expects commercial real estate activity to hold steady heading into the spring. “The demand for leases and new construction projects is expected to slowly climb as businesses add to their payrolls and consumers reap the benefits of cheaper gas and any accompanying wage growth from a tighter labor market,” he said. “Furthermore, multifamily housing continues to be the top-performing sector with current rental demand exceeding supply – leading to rent growth that is easily outpacing inflation in many metro areas throughout the country.”

Although economic conditions are improving at home, Yun says weaknesses in the global economy will likely impact exports. “Sluggishness overseas alongside a strengthening U.S. dollar will widen the trade deficit and slow economic growth potential,” he said. “However, GDP is forecasted to come in around 3 percent in 2015 – the highest since the recession. Improvements in housing and commercial real estate market activity will measurably help economic growth.”

NAR’s latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook(1) offers overall projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets. Historic data for metro areas is provided by REIS Inc., a source of commercial real estate performance information.

In partnership with Deloitte and RERC Situs, NAR released an annual joint report earlier this month – Expectations & Market Realities in Real Estate 2015 – which forecasts for an expected increase in commercial real estate value and pricing in 2015.

Office Markets

Office vacancy rates are forecast to slightly decline from 15.8 percent in the first quarter to 15.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

The markets with the lowest office vacancy rates in the first quarter are Washington, D.C., at 8.7 percent; New York City, 9.0 percent; Little Rock, Ark., and Seattle at 11.5 percent; and San Francisco, at 12.0 percent.

Office rents are projected to increase 3.3 percent in 2015 and 3.6 percent next year. Net absorption of office space, which includes the leasing of new space coming on the market as well as space in existing properties, is likely to total 47.7 million square feet this year and 58.3 million in 2016.

Industrial Markets

Industrial vacancy rates are expected to fall from 8.7 percent in the first quarter to 8.3 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

The areas with the lowest industrial vacancy rates currently are Orange County, Calif., with a vacancy rate of 3.4 percent; Los Angeles, 3.7 percent; Miami and Palm Beach, Fla., both at 5.4 percent; and Seattle, at 5.6 percent.

Annual industrial rents should rise 3.0 percent this year and 3.1 percent in 2016. Net absorption of industrial space nationally is expected to total 102.2 million square feet in 2015 and 104.8 million square feet next year.

Retail Markets

Vacancy rates in the retail market are expected to decline from 9.7 percent currently to 9.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

Currently, the markets with the lowest retail vacancy rates include San Francisco, at 3.0 percent; Fairfield County, Conn., and San Jose, Calif., at 4.5 percent; Long Island, N.Y., 4.9 percent; and Orange County, Calif., at 5.0 percent.

Average retail rents are forecast to rise 2.5 percent in 2015 and 3.1 percent next year. Net absorption of retail space is likely to total 15.7 million square feet this year and jump to 20.6 million in 2016.

Multifamily Markets

The apartment rental market should see vacancy rates slightly increase from 4.1 percent currently to 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2016. Vacancy rates below 5 percent are generally considered a landlord’s market, with demand justifying higher rent.

Areas with the lowest multifamily vacancy rates currently are Sacramento, Calif., 2.5 percent; Orange County, Calif., 2.6 percent; Hartford, Conn., and Oakland-East Bay at 2.7 percent; and Rochester, N.Y., at 2.8 percent.

Average apartment rents are projected to rise 3.7 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2016. Multifamily net absorption is expected to total 171,978 units in 2015 and 157,168 next year.

The NAR commercial community includes commercial members; commercial real estate boards; commercial committees, subcommittees and forums; and the NAR commercial affiliate organizations – CCIM Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, Realtors® Land Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors®, and Counselors of Real Estate.

Approximately 70,000 NAR and institute affiliate members specialize in commercial brokerage and related services, and an additional 283,000 members offer commercial real estate services as a secondary business.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1. Additional analyses will be posted under Economists’ Outlook in the Research blog section of Realtor.org in coming days at: economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org.

The next commercial real estate forecast and quarterly market report will be released on May 26 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
Email

NAR Chief Economist Sees Sluggish but Improving Commercial Outlook

Washington, DC, May 13, 2011 (Realtor.org) The commercial real estate market continues a slow pace toward recovery with occupancy rates rising in the office and industrial properties in most major cities across the U.S. supported by rising employment and restocking of wholesale inventory, according to National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. At the “Economics Issues and Commercial Business Trends Forum,” Yun identified bright spots and challenges within the commercial sector.

The forum took place during the Realtor® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo here this week.

In the second half of 2010, Realtors® reported seeing more movement in the commercial market. According to Yun, this movement is occurring as property price have become fallen, providing attractive returns on investment. However, tightened lending standards continue to pose a challenge because national banks are still hesitant to lend.

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun

“Lending from regional banks has become an important source of funds. The lending from big banks remained sluggish,” said Yun. “Investment funds through private equity and real estate investment trusts will play a bigger role as the commercial mortgage-backed securities market struggles to recover.”

However, movement in the commercial sector hasn’t translated into increased prices as the properties values are being dragged by the existence of distressed properties. Yun said, it could be several years before commercial property prices rise in any meaningful way, though some prime class-A properties in sought-after markets like Washington and New York have already started showing price recovery.

The apartment sector remains the strongest with solid net absorption and rents expected to increase 4 percent nationally in 2011 and 5 percent in 2012. In metropolitan areas like Washington, rents could rise close to double digit rate of appreciation.

The federal deficit and rising gas prices weigh heavily on the overall economic outlook. Interest rates are currently artificially low and unsustainable, and Yun expects the rate of inflation to increase to 3 or 4 percent by the end of 2011 and up to 5 percent by 2012 if gas prices do not retreat.

During the session, Yun was joined by commercial broker David Murphy of CB Richard Ellis in Orlando, Fla. Murphy was named top overall commercial producer for the company in 2009. Murphy echoed Yun’s sentiments about the outlook for commercial real estate.

“We are in the early months of a cyclical recovery,” said Murphy. “Leasing velocity is improving, investment sales are expected to continue to improve at higher than normal rates, and leasing growth rates should continue to improve.

Approximately 8,000 Realtors® and guests are attending the Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. During the week, Realtors® will also meet with legislators on Capitol Hill to urge action toward streamlining short sales, ensuring access to affordable financing, and preserving the tax benefits associated with home ownership. For more information about the meetings, visit www.realtor.org/midyear.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.