Paralleling economists' predictions of higher home prices and mortgage rates, Redfin's Real-Time Home Seller Survey found that consumers agree the housing market is beginning to lean in favor of those selling rather than buying.
According to the survey, 81 percent of respondents claimed home prices would rise in the next 12 months, up 6 percent from those who agreed in the forth quarter. Additionally, more consumers said they were concerned about missing out on future increases to home prices, while uncertainty regarding economic conditions remained the number one worry.
Data from the report found that 22 percent of those questioned said now is a good time to sell a property, up from 15 percent in the final months of last year. In addition, 54 percent believed now is an optimal time to buy, down from 58 percent. A low inventory of homes listed for sale also likely contributed to a decrease in belief of a buyer's market.
With high sales recorded throughout much of 2012, the inventory of homes for sale has fallen, though many in the industry say this will be replenished come spring when the market picks back up.
Consumers appear to agree, as 49 percent of those surveyed said they were planning to unload their homes, up from 45 percent. While selling often allows homeowners to purchase a new home, 47 percent said they would consider renting in order to hold onto their investment, a slight gain from 43 percent who said the same in the last quarter of 2012.
Low inventory could mean slow start to buying in 2013
Redfin noted that inventory of homes available to buyers was down nationwide, with around 30 percent less properties when compared real estate records from last year. Increased buying in 2012, along with affordable conditions offered by mortgage rates and overall better economic factors prompted many to make the investment. However, economists say typical business brought by spring and summer activity will help increase the inventory, as will consumer confidence in the market.
Another organization, the National Association of Realtors, agrees that the lack of supply has prevented sales from rising on a month-to-month basis, but annual gains are prevalent.
"The supply limitation appears to be the main factor holding back contract signings in the past month," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR. "Still, contract activity has risen for 20 straight months on a year-over-year basis. Buyer interest remains solid, as evidenced by a separate Realtor survey which shows that buyer foot traffic is easily outpacing seller traffic."