Only Four In Ten Renters Say It’s a Good Time to Buy a Home

Pulsenomics recently completed the latest edition of The U.S. Housing Confidence Survey(HCS). This study entails compilation of 10,000 questionnaires completed by heads of household across the country, and synthesis of more than 300,000 question responses to update the biannual Zillow Housing Confidence Index (ZHCI).

One of the dozens of housing-centric questions included in HCS is, “Where you live, would you say now is a good time to buy a home… or a bad time to buy a home?” Here’s a chart that summarizes responses to this question from the renter households surveyed (more than 3,700 of them) in January of each of the past three years.

“Now is a Good Time to Buy a Home”

(% of Renter Households that agree, by Metro Area)

A few observations worth noting:

  • The belief among renter households in Phoenix that it’s a good time to buy a home has surged relative to last year and other major metro areas.
  • Home-buying enthusiasm is dimming among renters in 16 of the 20 metro areas surveyed, and in 17 of them, one-half or fewer renter households said that now is a good time to buy a home.
  • The least enthusiastic renter households concerning current home-buying conditions reside in very high-priced California markets.

Survey response data about the question of whether (or not) “now is a good time to buy a home” are one of several inputs to the Housing Market Conditions Index (HMCI), one of three sub-indexes that comprise ZHCI. The chart below displays the Renter HMCI for Phoenix, Philadelphia, and the 20-metro composite. The plots illustrate:

  • Relationships between survey response micro-data (summarized in the above graphic) and a relevant sub-index of housing confidence.
  • The degree to which renter attitudes can diverge by geography, and within a market, how they can change over time.
  • How composite gauges can mask distinct trends and signals in component markets.

The ZHCI and its sub-indexes use a 0-100 scale; they are calculated for all households combined, as well as for homeowners only and renters only, for 20 of the largest metro areas in the U.S. For the HMCI sub-index, readings above 50 indicate positive assessments (healthy market conditions), and readings below 50 indicate negative evaluations (unhealthy market conditions).

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