What are the main drivers in today’s home-buying decisions? Realtor.com® sought to find out in a recent survey of active house hunters taken this June and July through the BDX Home Shopper Insights Panel. According to the survey, here are the top reasons buyers identified as triggering them to start thinking about purchasing a home:
1. “I’m tired of my house.”
That was the top reason house hunters identified as wanting to move, cited by 28 percent of the panel. The average time in a home has risen since the last recession as more owners found themselves underwater and facing price declines from 2007 to 2011. “After four years of above-average price appreciation, confidence in the market has returned,” notes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist.
2. Interest rates are attractive.
Interest rates continue to be low and they were the second trigger that buyers identified among 27 percent of shoppers as why they want to act now. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached a low in January at 3.63 percent and continue to mostly average under 4 percent. Last week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.86 percent. That’s a big discount compared to the average monthly 30-year fixed conforming rate since 1971, which was a whopping 8.39 percent. “Compared to that, interest rates will certainly remain favorable for many months ahead,” Smoke says.
3. Home prices are favorable.
In a 2012 realtor.com® survey, 47 percent of active home shoppers cited favorable home prices as the top trigger for buying. The price motivation has been decreasing, but it still remains one of the top triggers. Today, just 26 percent of home shoppers cite favorable home prices as a reason for buying. In June, the U.S. surpassed its 2006 peak as home prices zoomed to a record high – a median of $236,400, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. But on an inflation-adjusted basis, home prices today are still about 20 percent beneath the peak at the height of the housing bubble, Smoke adds.
4. “I’ve got more money to spend.”
Twenty-four percent of active home buyers say an increase in income is their primary trigger for buying a home now. Indeed, now several years post-recession, more households are financially better off. Among 25- to 34-year-olds surveyed, they cited having more money to spend as the No. 1 motivator in buying – cited by 35 percent of these “older” millennials, Smoke notes.
5. A change in family circumstances.
Eighteen percent of home buyers said a change in family circumstance or composition was their main reason for buying. More people are expanding their families: Births did rise last year and are expected to grow again this year as well.