REALTORS® Confidence Index
The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions. In addition, the "Questions of the Month," feature results of a timely aspect of the housing market.
REALTORS®' assessments of real estate market conditions in 2014 and their outlook for the next six months were essentially unchanged from the July 2014 survey. Broadly, the confidence and buyer indexes indicate that there are more REALTORS® who view their local market as “strong” than those who view their local markets as “weak.”
There were reports that in some areas, market activity fell in August, which respondents attributed to seasonal factors such as school openings.
Supply constraints were reported to be easing in more states than reported previously (in AZ, CA, DE, FL, GA, IN, ID , MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, NV, NY, TX, VA, WI), although inventory was still generally tight as reflected in the supply index that is still tracking below 50. Supply was reported to be tight especially for “lower” and “middle-priced” homes, given fewer listings for distressed properties and with the strong price appreciation since 2012 that has made homes less affordable.
Purchases by first-time buyers accounted for about the same share of the market as buyers continued to face difficulty in obtaining loans under tougher credit standards. With rising home prices, the share of purchases for investment purposes dropped significantly in August. With investors typically paying cash, the share of cash sales to total sales also dropped. With slightly improving inventory, properties stayed on the market longer, and REALTORS® expected a modest price increase in the coming 12 months.