Consumer outlook not to blame for slowing existing-home sales

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Consumer views on the economy and finances are not to blame for the retreat in existing-home sales in four of the past five months, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In this year's third quarter, renters are increasingly reporting now is a good time to buy a home, with the share jumping to 62%. Last quarter, only about 52% of renters believed it was a good time for a home purchase.

Roughly half of renters expect to pay more this year, and two-thirds of households report that saving for a down payment is challenging.

A majority of homeowners, higher-income households and Americans living in the more affordable South and Midwest regions are among those most optimistic about buying right now.

As home prices continue increasing steadily, the number of homeowners that feel now is a good time to sell is also up, with the share growing to 80% from 75% last quarter, and even more so from 67% year-over-year.

Though it is good news that both buyer and seller optimism is growing, it remains unclear if this will translate to more sales, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

"The housing market has been in a funk since early spring because of the ongoing scarcity of new and existing homes for sale," said Yun.

"The pace of new home construction has not meaningfully broken out this year, and not enough homeowners at this point have followed through with their belief that now is a good time to sell. As a result, home shoppers have seen limited options, stiff competition and weakening affordability conditions."

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