Homeowners becoming more pessimistic about housing market

Dennis Norman St Louis

Dennis Norman

1 in 3 Think Worst Is Yet to Come, While 38% Think Local Home Values Have Reached Bottom

According to the second quarter 2010 Zillow Homeowner Confidence Survey, one-third (33 percent) of homeowners feel home values in their local market have not reached bottom, while 38 percent believe their market has in fact hit bottom.

Pessimism in the market seems to be growing as twenty-eight percent of U.S. homeowners feel that that home values in their local real estate market will decrease in the next six-months, up from twenty percent that felt this way the prior quarter. In addition, thirty-percent feel home values will increase in the next six-months, down from forty-two percent in the prior quarter.

Five percent of U.S. homeowners say they are very likely to put their home on the market in the next six months if they see signs of a real estate market turnaround. This translates into 3.8 million homes with the potential to come into the market. By comparison, 5.2 million existing homes were sold in all of 2009. Seeing this statistic makes me question even more the reports I have seen recently by some analysts projecting a “housing shortage” in the near future due to the extremely low number of new homes being built. Every time I hear one of these reports I question how we can have a shortage when, even though new home construction is lackluster, the rate at which new homes are being sold at still pales in comparison to the rate at which new homes are being built.

Looking backward, homeowners also became slightly more pessimistic about the performance of their own homes’ values in the past year. Less than a quarter (24 percent) of homeowners said their home had increased in value in the past year, compared to 27 percent in the first quarter. In reality, 34 percent of homes increased in value in the second quarter, according to the Zillow 2nd quarter Real Estate Market Reports.

“As homeowners have been so inundated recently with news of declining home sales post-tax credit, it’s no surprise that they would become more pessimistic about the future of home values,” said Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow.com®. “Homeowners have become much more responsive to current market conditions than they were just two years ago, when a more typical reaction was denial.

“Given this sentiment, we’re surprised so many homeowners believe their market has already bottomed. Although our Q2 reports indicated signs of stabilization in 30 percent of markets we cover, we’re concerned that this was at least partly due to the homebuyer tax credits. We’re already seeing payback for the credits in the form of declining home sales, and this trend will push up inventory levels and exert downward pressure on home values. Add in the inventory from the millions of sidelined sellers and we’ll take more steps back. Our forecast remains largely unchanged: We’re in for an L-shaped recovery that will likely keep annualized home value appreciation very low for the next three to five years.”

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