Real Estate Data for the Rest of Us

articles about “Consumer Surveys

Love Thy Neighbor?

Two-thirds of Americans like their neighbors, even if almost half don’t know their neighbors’ names. But it’s not always easy being a good neighbor. Many Americans want neighbors who are similar to themselves, and even friendly neighbors can be judgmental, nosy, or passive-aggressive.

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
October 24, 2013

Do Americans love their neighbors as themselves? Although “love” might be pushing it, most Americans are pretty happy with their neighbors. To understand how Americans feel about their neighbors, Trulia surveyed 3,014 American adults on September 25-27, 2013.

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighborino!
Let’s start with the good news. Unlike Homer Simpson, who lives next door to the annoying Ned Flanders, two thirds of all Americans like their neighbors, and that number jumps to 80% among people who know their neighbors’ names. But even among people who don’t know their neighbors’ names, 53% like their neighbors.

Trulia Infographic - Homeowner Neighbor Survey

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Worried Buyers Would Take Desperate Measures in Today’s Sellers’ Market

Rising prices and tight inventory stoke worries and inspire aggressive home buying tactics. As housing becomes less affordable, Americans are downsizing their housing dreams but expecting a bigger financial payoff from homeownership.

This year’s home-buying season looks nothing like last year’s. With mortgage rates and home prices rising, the best deals are long gone. Furthermore, there are fewer homes for sale now than one year ago. To what lengths will desperate house hunters go to snag the house of their dreams, and what are they most worried about? To get the answers to these questions, Trulia worked with Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 2,029 U.S. adults between June 24-26, 2013. For the full methodology, see below.

What Prospective Home Buyers Worry About
Prospective home buyers are feeling the pain of a booming real estate market. The top worry among all survey respondents who might buy a home someday is that mortgage rates will rise further before they buy (41%), followed by rising prices (37%).

In the hottest markets – those where asking home prices rose more than 15% year-over-year like Las Vegas and Oakland – buyers’ worries are even more intense. In those areas, potential house hunters have heightened concerns about continued price increases, competition from other buyers, and having to decide quickly on a home before it gets snapped up. The only thing that people in the hottest markets worry about less than people in the rest of the country is qualifying for a mortgage.

While rising mortgage rates are the top concern for people if they were to buy a home within the next year, people actually planning to buy within the next year have another main worry: finding a home they like. Tight inventory means slim pickings for buyers. Even though inventory is starting to expand, and rising home prices should bring more for-sale homes onto the market, people who actually want to buy within the next year are feeling the pressure of competing buyers and limited inventory.

House Hunting Worries

Overall

In hottest markets

Planning to buy in next 12 months

Mortgage interest rates would rise before I buy

41%

45%

43%

Home prices would rise before I buy

37%

42%

38%

I would not find a home for sale that I like

36%

38%

43%

I would not qualify for a mortgage

30%

25%

25%

I would have to compete with many other buyers for the home I wanted most

27%

33%

32%

Home prices would fall after I buy

25%

30%

21%

I would have to decide on a home very quickly because homes for sale are not staying on the market for long

19%

26%

30%

Note: only among respondents who plan to buy a home someday. Hottest markets are metros where prices increased more than 15% year-over-year in June according to the Trulia Price Monitor. Exact survey question: “if you were to buy a home this year, in 2013, which of the following, if any, would be among the things that you would worry most about?”

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
With all these worries, home buyers are willing to do a lot to get the home of their dreams. In fact, among survey respondents who plan to buy a home someday, 2 in 3 (66%)  would use aggressive tactics such as bidding above asking, writing personal letters to the seller, or removing contingencies, to name a few.  One in four (25%) would be willing to pay the seller’s closing costs, and 25% would also be willing to bid 1-5% over asking. However, people would sooner write a personal letter to the seller than bid 6-10% or more than 10% above the asking price.

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Rising Mortgage Rates Giving Would-Be Homebuyers Jitters

Rising mortgage rates are the top worry for people thinking of buying a home someday, and 56% of Americans say they would be discouraged from homeownership if rates reach 6%. But pay more attention to what consumers do than what they say.

After years of low-and-lower mortgage rates, the 30-year fixed rate shot up from a near-historic-low of 3.35% in early May to 4.46% in late June before settling back to 4.29% last week, according to Freddie Mac. The rate increase was sudden and steep, but not a surprise. Economists and forecasters have been waiting for rates to go up for two reasons: (1) the strengthening economy tends to push up rates, and (2) the Fed is expected to pull back on bond-buying and other measures that have kept rates low, which they reaffirmed in mid-June. By historical standards, rates are still low: remember that mortgage rates hovered around 6% for most of the 2000s, 7-9% in the 1990s, and above 10% in the 1980s. Nonetheless, the recent rate climb has been steep. 

What Consumers Think of Rising Rates
Consumers are anxious about rising mortgage rates. Trulia surveyed more than 2,000 people during June 24-26, after rates rose sharply. We asked what their biggest worry would be if they were to buy a home this year. Among all consumers who plan to buy a home in the future, 41% said their top worry is that mortgage rates would rise before they actually bought. The next biggest worries were that prices would rise before they actually bought (37%) and that they wouldn’t find a home for sale that they like (36%).

How high do mortgage rates have to rise before consumers are discouraged from buying a home? Among consumers who plan to buy a home someday, 13% said that mortgage rates of 4% (which is what the rate had climbed to when the survey was conducted) were already too high for them to consider buying a home. Another 20% said they’d be discouraged from buying a home if rates reach 5%; yet another 22% said they’d be discouraged from buying a home if rates reach 6%. Combining these groups, 56% of consumers who plan to buy a home someday would be discouraged from doing so if rates reach 6%. Among renters who plan to buy a home someday, 62% would be discouraged from doing so if rates reach 6%.

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Woulda Shoulda Coulda: Real Estate Regrets to Avoid

Trulia’s latest consumer survey revealed that 52% of people regret something about their current home or the process of choosing it. This season, under the pressure of tight inventory, buyers and renters have to try hard not to make the same mistakes

Spring house-hunting season is upon us. Home searches peak in March and April, and this year the search is especially frantic as inventory is near a 12-year low. Many homes don’t stay on the market for long, so buyers will have to move fast – especially in markets with bidding wars and competing investor activity. But when it comes to searching for a home, as with everything else, moving too fast leads to mistakes and regrets. To find out which regrets are most common – and who is most prone to making decisions they’ll later regret — we asked more than 2,000 consumers what, if anything, they regret about their current home and most recent home-search process.

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“Renter Nation” Just A Myth: 93% of Millennial Renters Plan To Buy A Home Someday

Trulia’s latest American Dream survey reveals consumer optimism about homeownership is rebounding as the housing market recovers, even among young adults who were often pegged as renters for life during the recession. Meanwhile, rising prices will encourage some homeowners to sell in 2013.

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
December 12, 2012

Trulia’s year-end 2012 American Dream survey reveals how today’s consumers are more optimistic about the housing market and more ready to buy. For Millennials, the recent housing bust shapes their near-term expectations about the market in general, but nearly all young renters want to buy in the long run. Going into 2013, consumers expect inventory to expand, and it looks like that will happen so long as prices keep rising: as price gains push more homeowners into positive equity, more will be willing to sell.

To get Americans’ take on homeownership, we worked with Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 2,083 U.S. adults between November 15-19, 2012. For the full methodology, see below.

Americans Bullish on Buying Homes

Americans More Bullish on Buying Homes
As 2012 wraps up, the housing market is looking up on all fronts. It was the first year since 2006 in which home prices will have increased. In addition, construction and sales are both significantly up from their lowest point during the housing crisis, and vacancies, delinquencies, and foreclosures have all come down. Key for the housing market, job growth has picked up, and unemployment has fallen to 7.7% from 8.2% six months ago and 9.8% two years ago. These trends all give consumers more buying power and more confidence in the economy.

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