Home sales are increasing, Prudential NW Realty reports

Prudential Northwest Realty – Brookfield Real Estate and Relocation Affiliates Inc., owner of the Prudential Real Estate franchise network, just released the quarterly Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey showing that Americans’ confidence in homeownership and real estate continues climbing from the first quarter and a year earlier.

Prudential has a branch office in Burien.

Locally, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) reported sales were up 13.8 percent in June year over year. It is the third straight month with year over year increases.

Sales are increasing although inventory of available homes for sale is still low. The NWMLS reported a 41 percent drop in the number of homes for sale in June.

Similar to the national sentiment, signs of growing confidence are apparent among local residents as home prices in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties are gaining or stabilizing.

According to the national survey:
Sixty-nine percent believe that real estate is a good investment despite the market volatility of the past few years, up 6 percent from the first-quarter 2012 survey and 17 percentage points from first quarter 2011.
Seventy-two percent expressed confidence that the real estate market and property values will improve during the next two years, including a 6-point jump among those “very confident” or “confident” vs. the first quarter 2012, and a 14-point gain in this subset over first quarter 2011.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents have a favorable perception of the U.S. housing market, up from 60 percent in the first-quarter survey and 52 percent in first-quarter 2011.

“The American Dream is clearly on the mend,” said Mike Gain, President/CEO of Prudential Northwest Realty Associates. “Americans are feeling better about homeownership and the ongoing recovery taking place in residential real estate. Many are increasingly optimistic about their personal circumstances and, with housing affordability near all-time highs, they want to act on the opportunity.

Factors driving homeownership
Homeownership remains the central component to the American Dream, as 78 percent of respondents said owning a home was still “very important” – the same percentage reported in the first-quarter 2012 study. A full 98 percent said homeownership was at least somewhat important.

In addition, with interest rates at historically low levels, 96 percent of respondents at least “somewhat agree” that now is a great time to buy a home – the same percentage reported in the first-quarter 2012 study.

More than the financial reasons to buy a home, respondents placed higher priority on the emotional reasons for homeownership. “Control over living space,” “more space for family,” “safer neighborhood” and “good place to raise a family” rated higher than “a good investment,” “financial security” and “tax benefits.”

“More people in the greater Seattle are once again buying homes,” said Gain. “This could be the best time ever to buy a home in our region.” “Owning a home contributes to their quality of life in the aspects of privacy and other intangible rewards of having their own space.”

The survey also shows that consumers remain cautious about the real estate market and process, as a full 30 percent “strongly agree” that the housing crisis reminds them to be more careful about buying or selling a home; up two percentage points from the first-quarter 2012 survey.

In addition:
Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents indicated that financing or getting a mortgage is more challenging than it was before the market crisis, which is up from 58 percent in the first-quarter 2012 survey.
Among those considering a real estate transaction, 39 percent expressed concern they won’t be able to sell their current home, up 11 points from the first-quarter 2012 survey and 10 points from first quarter 2011.
Given the dynamics and challenges of today’s real estate market, nearly three out of four (74 percent) respondents think it is more important than ever to work with a good real estate agent for the best success in buying or selling a home up from 71 percent in the first-quarter survey and 67 percent in first quarter 2011.

“The real estate market is definitely improving in the Great Northwest and consumers face many choices,” said Gain. “Consumers should seek out a real estate professional who can help them make the best choices to suit their needs.”

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