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Housing Recovery Prompts
More Real Estate Agent Optimism
by Broderick Perkins

If we've said it once, we'll say it again: there's nothing like boots-on-the-ground to get in-the-trenches information about the real estate market.

A second poll of real estate agents in as many months finds a larger share of real agents slapping backs over the housing recovery.

The first quarter 2013 Redfin Real-Time Real Estate Agent Survey of 650 real estate agents from nearly two dozen metropolitan areas, found 97 percent of agents expect home prices to rise in the next year, up from 87 percent six months ago.

That's an even larger share of optimistic real estate agents than found in last month's report "Real Estate Is Back."

It revealed similar results - 84 percent of real estate agents believe that real estate values and the number of real estate transactions will increase in 2013, giving more sellers an opportunity to move up or sell at a profit.

"Redfin real estate agents are right there with their clients," said Redfin's chief of real estate operations Scott Nagel.

"We are working to educate people about the opportunities of a seller's market, while helping homebuyers compete for the few homes available," Nagel added.

Unfortunately potential home buyers are getting the short end of the stick, even with still-affordable prices, low mortgage rates and even a slight easing of underwriting rules.

Sellers' market

Real estate agent confidence is based largely on the fact that the housing recovery is a sellers' market.

time to sell

Redfin found only 57 percent of the agents surveyed described the housing recovery as a good time to buy, down from 75 percent in the third quarter last year, the last time Redfin conducted the survey.

The survey also found:

  • Real estate agents are confident of upcoming price gains - 97 percent of agents expect home prices to rise in the next year (44 percent think prices will "rise a lot," and 53 percent think prices will "rise a little"), while in the third quarter of 2012, 87 percent of agents expected home prices to rise (11 percent expected home prices to "rise a lot," and 76 percent expected home prices to "rise a little").
  • Real estate agents believe sellers are gaining more confidence in the market than buyers - 98 percent of agents agreed that sellers are becoming more confident about the market, and 83 percent agreed that buyers are becoming more confident.

time to sell

Given recent consumer confidence reports, buyers becoming more confident is one boots-on-the ground sentiment that appears off base.

Consumers continue to worry about the jobs and income they need to buy a home in today's still relatively tight mortgage market.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, had improved in February, but declined in March. The Index now stands at 59.7, down from 68.0 in February.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was also gloomier. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 12.3 percent from 16.1 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs increased to 26.6 percent from 22.1 percent.

The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase fell to 13.7 percent from 15.8 percent, while those expecting a decrease edged down to 18.0 percent from 19.3 percent.

  • Real estate agents are feeling the same pinch of low inventory and multiple offers that buyers feel - 96 percent of agents pointed to low inventory and multiple offers as the most common challenges facing buyers, up from 90 percent and 91 percent, respectively, in the third quarter.

©2013 Realty Times

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