By Peter Ricci
The Realtor Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) faltered a bit in September, with tight home lending standards stalling the index’s momentum.
The index had been rising steadily through most of 2012, and even with the September declines, Realtor confidence, along with the many stats that accompany it, are still noticeably improved from a year ago.
Realtor Confidence Index – Gradual Improvement
The Realtor Confidence Index surveyed the opinions of more than 3,400 Realtors from across the country, and NAR highlighted the following facts in its report:
- Realtors noted that housing inventory levels are tighter, but they also reported that home prices have risen as a result; 71 percent of respondents said home prices were either constant or higher than a year ago, and 88 percent said they expect that trend to continue for the next 12 monts.
- Median days on the market has also improved in the last 12 months, falling from 101 last year to 70 in September.
- Altogether, the Realtor Confidence Index for single-family homes has risen from 30 to 53 in the last year, and town homes and condos have risen from 18 to 36, and from 13 to 30, respectively.
Home Lending Standards Remain Strict
NAR was sure to emphasis the role that tight lending standards from banks played on the Realtor Confidence Index; indeed, it’s an issue the association remarks on repeatedly. Between banks not lending, taking to long to approve mortgages, requesting an unnecessary volume of paperwork and refusing to lower credit standards, the tight lending conditions of the current real estate market are a repeated issue with many Realtors and association staff members.
Cody Philips, an agent with Better Homes and Garden Real Estate Gary Greene in the Montrose and Inner Loop areas of Houston, said that lending today amounts to a “double-edged sword,” one where standards are higher, but necessary, as well.
“There is more paperwork and guidelines, but it’s a necessary evil, due to what’s happened recently with the real estate market,” he said.