Investor buyers continue to be active in the residential market. About 20 percent of REALTORS® who responded to a monthly survey about their last sale in January 2014 reported that the sale was made to a buyer buying for investment purposes.
See the January REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey report for more information.
Approximately 33 percent of respondents reported cash sales in January . About 13 percent of reported sales made by a first-time buyer were cash sales compared to about 50 to 70 percent for investors and international buyers. See the January REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey report for more information.
 The RCI Survey asks about the most recent sale for the month.
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 .
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).
 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.
Prices are still expected to generally increase, although at a slower pace. About 92 percent of REALTOR® respondents expect constant or higher prices in the next 12 months (90 percent in November). Prices are expected to increase modestly at a median expected price increase of 3.7 percent . Local conditions vary. See the December REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey report for more information.
Improved inventory conditions, lower volume of distressed sales, and the pick up in interest rates are factors that will create an environment for modest price growth. Some REALTORS® saw the slowdown as a welcome break to the rapid home price growth amid the modest growth in consumer incomes and jobs.
 The median expected price change is the value such that 50 percent of respondents expect prices to change above this value and 50 percent of respondents expect prices to change below this value.
Approximately 27 percent of REALTOR® respondents reported that their last sale in December was by a first time home buyer  (28 percent in November). REALTORS® continued to report about the difficulty of home buyers in accessing credit and that first time buyers who generally use mortgage financing are finding it hard to compete against investors who typically pay cash. About 21 percent of respondents reported a sale to an investor. See the December REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey report for more information..
 First time buyers account for about 40 percent of all homebuyers based on data from NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.