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Housing market confidence rises in the US, but is down on a year ago

Most households in the United States believe the spring season is a good time to buy a home but those in the rental sector are less confident, new research shows.

Some 80% of home owners are positive about the market, up from 78% in December 2016 but down from 82% a year ago, according to the research from the National Association of Realtors.

But just 56% of those who rent think it is a good time to buy, down slightly from 57% in in December 2016 and down from 62% a year ago.

Overall, younger households, renters and those living in the costlier West region where prices continue to rise, are the least optimistic, the study also found.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun pointed out that a lack of homes for sale, prices and rising mortgage rates are putting people off. ‘These factors are giving many renter households a pause about it being a good time to buy, even as their job prospects improve and wages grow,’ he said.

‘Unless there’s a significant boost in supply levels this spring, these constraints will unfortunately slow or delay some prospective buyers’ pursuit of purchasing a home,’ he added.

One promising trend that could alleviate supply shortages is a rise in the share of respondents this quarter who believe now is a good time to sell a home. Sone 69% of home owners think now is a good time to sell, up from 62% in the December quarter of last year and up from 56% in March 2016.

Continuing the trend over the past year, those in the West continue to be the most likely to think now is a good time to sell with 77% saying so and they are also the least likely to think it’s a good time to buy at 61%.

‘Demand far outpaces supply in many parts of the country right now, which means home owners will likely sell their home much quicker than the time it takes to buy another,’ said NAR president William Brown.