Nearly three quarters of potential buyers believe home prices will increase in their neighborhood in the next twelve months, twice as many as in the first quarter.
Despite forecasts that prices will increase less in 2013 than this year, buyers are more concerned by rising prices than the overall economy. Thirty-three percent of buyers listed rising prices as a major concern in the fourth quarter, up from just 23 percent in the third quarter. Meanwhile, 22 percent said they were concerned with a weak economy, down from 27 percent in the third quarter, according to the Redfin Real-Time Homebuyer Survey. From November 30 to December 2, 2012, Redfin surveyed 1,084 active homebuyers who had toured a home with a Redfin agent since August 14.
More Than 70 percent of buyers believe prices will rise next year in their markets. The number of buyers who believe prices are rising shot up even higher in the fourth quarter, although most still expect gains to be modest. Ten percent of respondents expect home prices in their area to “rise a lot” over the next twelve months, the same as last quarter; 61 percent expect prices to “rise a little” an increase of ten percentage points over last quarter. Twenty-one percent expect prices to “stay the same,” 6 percent expect prices to “drop a little,” and less than 1 percent expect prices to “drop a lot.”
A growing number of buyers are planning to buy in order to get out in front of rising prices. Thirty-three percent of respondents indicated rising prices as a motivation for buying now, up from 29 percent in the third quarter and just 19 percent in the first quarter. Not surprisingly, a decreasing number of buyers cited “low home prices” as their reason for buying-just 28 percent in this quarter’s survey, down from 33 percent in the third quarter and 40 percent in the first quarter.
More than half (59 percent) of buyers listed low inventory as their top concern with buying now, consistent with last quarter’s rate. When we asked buyers how low inventory was affecting their home search, nearly half (46 percent) indicated that they have expanded their search to include new areas that they hadn’t previously been considering, while 38% indicated that they would be taking a break until more listings come on the market.