For the third consecutive month, the diffusion index for foot traffic held roughly steady. This plateau follows a sharp mid-summer decline in the wake of a 1% increase in mortgage rates. Rates eased in October, but crept upward in late November, which could weigh on future trends.
Every month SentriLock, LLC. provides NAR Research with data on the number of properties shown by a REALTOR®. Foot traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future. For the month of November, the diffusion index for foot traffic eased 2.5 points to 48.1.
Mortgage rates started the month low, but ticked upward in the later part of November on positive economic news and anticipation of a potential taper of asset purchases by the Federal Reserve. However, foot traffic held relatively steady for the 3rd consecutive month. Inventories remain tight in some markets like San Diego, which would constrain an increase in local foot traffic. But several markets across the Midwest have slowed relative to last year. Markets that continue to expand are doing so modestly.
The index eased just under the “50” mark in November which indicates that more than half of the markets in this panel had stronger foot traffic in November of 2013 than the same month a year earlier. This reading does not suggest how much of a decrease in traffic there was, just that the majority of markets experienced less foot traffic in November of 2013 compared to a year earlier.
The post-rate-spike recovery appears to have taken root. However, rates did ease in October and early November. Still, traffic remained strong despite the disruption of the government shutdown. Rates have since increased closer to 4.5% which could weigh on traffic in the coming months if the increases continue.
On Tuesday, November 19, NAR Research held a Twitter Chat to discuss the highlights from the newly released 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Research’s Director of Member and Consumer Survey Research, Jessica Lautz, discussed the latest info and trends from this always popular annual report, responding to 140 character-or-less questions as they filtered in. The discussion was lively and informative, and thanks to all who participated. Even if you were unable to interact with us that day, the full recap of the #2013HBS hashtag recap can be found here, and the most popular tweets from the chat can be found after the jump:
The 2013 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was released on November 4, and as it does each year the report examined the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans, and experiences of recent buyers and sellers.
One recent trend discussed is how much consumers now embrace technology during the home search process. Did you know that…
- Fifty-six percent of buyers start their home search online, 43 percent found the home they ultimately purchased online (edging out all other sources), and 92 percent used the internet at some point during their search process.
- Forty-five percent of recent buyers used a mobile or tablet website or application during their home search and among those who did 22 percent found the home they purchased online.
Here are a few charts from the Profile that highlight the growth in technology usage over the years:
- The share of home sellers who sold their home without the assistance of a real estate agent was 9 percent. One-third of those sellers knew the buyer prior to home purchase.
- The primary reason that sellers choose to sell their home without the assistance of a real estate agent to a buyer they did not know was that they did not want to pay a fee or commission (43 percent).
- One-third of FSBO sellers took no action to market their home, and 60 percent did not offer any incentives to attract buyers.
- The typical FSBO home sold for $174,900 compared to $210,000 among agent-assisted home sales.
- For more information on the annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, click here. The 2013 report will be released next Monday, November 4.
- According to the Digital House Hunt, a joint report between NAR Research and Google, there is an opportunity for REALTORS® to market to home shoppers in online video environments.
- New home buyers place an emphasis on virtual tours and videos showcasing properties and communities.
- Finding an agent and agent related searches on YouTube grew 46% year-over-year.
- Number of agent-related videos on YouTube:
- 19,200 results for how to find a real estate agent;
- 88,400 for real estate agent;
- 118,000 for buying a home
- Home buyers who purchased previously owned homes are more likely to bring their online research offline by walking through or driving by a home they viewed online.