According to an April Gallup poll, only 50% of Americans believe now is a good time to buy. Also cautious about the current market, a National Association of Home Builders economist doesn’t expect a rebound in home purchases until after the COVID-19 crisis is curbed. Additionally, a National Association of Realtors® economist predicts a temporary decline in sales throughout the pandemic crisis.
The Gallup poll reflects the opinions of approximately 1,000 individuals, including both homeowners and renters. When comparing the current findings with those in a similar survey during the Great Recession, pollsters observed that renters are less pessimistic now than then. Homeowners, on the other hand, currently hold an all-time low opinion of the housing market.
Robert Dietz, the chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, considers the rising claims of unemployed workers to be a significant factor causing weakened sales of new homes. Prices are also declining. NAHB reports that from February to March of this year, new homes experienced a 2.6% decline in median price to $321,400. Still, that price remains almost 3.5% above the median price in March of 2019.
National Association of Realtors® chief economist, Lawrence Yun, takes a long view regarding housing sales and expresses confidence that the market will return to normal. While acknowledging the impact that the virus crisis has had on home sales, he believes the young adults in the market will be ready to buy when the economy improves. Further, he predicts that an abundance of willing buyers will help to keep prices high. Danielle Hale, the chief economist at realtor.com®, expects a period of bumpy roads in the housing market, but she does not believe the market will fall apart as in the last recession. She encourages buyers who are actively shopping to consider new homes as those prices seem to be softer than previously owned properties.
Taken all together, these opinions point to a buyer beware type of housing market. The 50% of Americans who believe now is a good time to buy a home must be ready to navigate the tedious mortgage application process and be willing to risk missing a better opportunity when more properties are on the market later. Given the prediction that prices are not likely to increase than decrease, a savvy buyer could close on a great deal today.