Americans have quickly soured on the prospects of the nation’s real-estate market as the coronavirus pandemic has swept the country.
Only 50% of Americans said that now is a good time to buy a home, according to a survey of roughly 1,000 people released Friday by polling firm Gallup. That represents the lowest share of Americans to have a positive view on the country’s housing market in the time that Gallup has tracked people’s sentiments on real estate.
A year ago, 61% of Americans thought it was a good time to buy, while 36% said they believed it wasn’t. The previous low was set back in 2006 when only 52% of Americans thought it was a good time to buy amid the subprime mortgage-fueled housing bubble. Gallup began tracking American’s feelings on the housing market periodically back in the 1970s and has polled on this question annually since 2003.
Additionally, only 40% of Americans think that the average price of a home where they live will increase over the next year, down from 62% a year ago, despite some economists predicting that home prices will continue to rise, even amid the economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Gallup figures were yet another indication of how much the economic shutdown prompted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has weighed on consumer confidence.
Home sales have come close to a standstill in many parts of the country. Social-distancing recommendations have significantly complicated real-estate agents’ ability to market homes, and home buyers face a more complicated process completing all the paperwork needed to buy a property. It has also gotten more difficult to get a mortgage.
Sellers, meanwhile, have refrained from listing their homes or pulled them from the market to avoid the possibility of needing to sell at a lower price.
Notably, the shift in sentiment was more prominent among homeowners (down 16 percentage points) than renters (down four percentage points). Renters were more pessimistic about the housing market during the Great Recession than they are now, while this year’s poll represents an all-time low among homeowners.
Republicans, people who live in the suburbs of large cities, and those whose annual income exceeds $100,000 were most upbeat, per Gallup’s survey.