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REALTORS® Confidence Index Indicates Modest Market Expansion in January 2014

The January REALTORS® Confidence Indexes for current conditions indicate a modest pace of expansion compared to the heated recovery in 2012 through mid-2013. The extreme winter weather was reported to have negatively affected sales, particularly on the East Coast and in the Midwest. But across many states, a major factor reported by REALTORS® that is impeding sales was the low inventory of available properties. Another problem cited was tight access to credit; there are reports that the self-employed have a tough time obtaining mortgages. See the January REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey for more information.

The index for single family sales registered at 60 (59 in December). The index for townhouses/duplexes was at 44 (43 in December) while the index for condominiums was at 40 (37 in December). The indexes are at about their levels compared to the same month last year but are lower than their peak levels in mid-2013. An index of 50 marks “moderate” conditions [1].

With spring around the corner, the 6-month Outlook Index is reflecting the seasonal market optimism. The index for single family homes rose to 69 (66 in December). The index for townhouses hit 50 (48 in December) while the index for condominiums registered at 46 (44 in December).

[1] An index of 50 delineates “moderate” conditions and indicates a balance of respondents having “weak” (index=0) and “strong” (index=100) expectations. The index is calculated as a weighted average using the share of respondents for each index as weights. The index is not adjusted for seasonality effects.

Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Research

Jed Smith is Managing Director, Quantitative Research with the National Association of Realtors®. He has worked on real estate issues for the past 20 years, providing input on a variety of housing, commercial real estate, tax, and planning issues. Recently he has been involved in several international studies.

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