REALTORS® generally expect a modest increase in prices in the next 12 months , with the median expected price change at about 4 percent. This is based on responses gathered from the August-October 2013 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey. About 3,000 REALTORS ® respondents answer the survey each month. See the October report at http://www.realtor.org/reports/realtors-confidence-index.
Properties are staying on the market longer, based on the days on market information reported by REALTORS® in the October REALTOR® Confidence Index Survey. The median days on the market was 54 days (50 days in September), up from its lowest point of 37 days in June 2013. Short sales were on the market the longest, at 93 days, compared to foreclosed properties (44 days) and non-distressed properties (53 days). Local conditions vary. [See full report]
REALTORS® indicated that properties have stayed on the market longer since mortgage rates increased in the middle of the year (albeit rates are still low by historical standards). The heightened economic uncertainty made more evident by the government shutdown, concerns about higher flood insurance rates in coastal states such as Florida and North Carolina, and the increase in home insurance premiums were also reported to be holding back buyers.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the October 2013 REALTOR® Confidence Index Survey reported that the government shutdown had a temporary effect on ongoing transactions. Other data indicated that the shutdown also apparently impacted buyer confidence to some degree for future transactions. Overall the impact was noticeable but somewhat lower than feared.
The REALTOR® Confidence Index (RCI) for current market conditions continued to drop in October across all property types. An index of 50 marks “moderate” conditions . About 3,500 REALTORS® responded to the October survey: October REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey
A variety of factors were reported as negatively affecting confidence: impacts of the government shutdown, increases in mortgage rates, tight housing inventories, and the impending increase in home flood insurance rates.
 To assess their confidence about current conditions, REALTORS® were asked: “How would you describe the market where you make most of your sales? Concerning their expectations for the next six months, they were asked “What are your expectations for the housing market over the next 6 months where you make most of your sales?”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 not adjusted for seasonality effects.
With potential home owners finding it tough to buy their first home, there is still strong demand for rental units, judging by rental price trends. REALTORS® reported rents that are higher compared to a year ago.
Rising rents add an additional incentive for homeownership. Homeownership provides families with enhanced lifestyles—and a chance to cap major parts of their living costs.
What does this mean for REALTORS®? Homeownership advantages for discussion with clients include housing costs (generally less owning a home), quality of life for the family, continued relatively low mortgage rates, and home affordability. Rents continue to go up, and at the end of the lease the renter has a stack of rent receipts as the final product.