Real Estate Consumers Shed Light on the Listing Conundrum in Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ Second Homeowner Sentiment Survey

#GoodToKnow

Respondents maintain a favorable view of housing and share
impressions of housing’s challenging inventory shortage

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF Affiliates LLC family
of real estate brokerage franchise networks, today released results of
its second Homeowner Sentiment Survey indicating that real estate
consumers remain optimistic about housing and its long-term prospects
yet are hesitant to list their homes in a market largely favoring
sellers.

U.S. real estate has moved forward since the “Great Recession,” though
its recovery has been tempered by various market conditions. For
example, strict mortgage-qualification guidelines continue to stem the
flow of consumers to real estate while homebuilders have not kept pace
with growing demand and household formation. Concurrently, much of the
glut of homes generated in the downturn – “Shadow Inventory” – was
gobbled up by investors who now rent the properties. These factors and
others have led to a low supply of homes, which in turn has intensified
competition for existing properties and driven up home prices in many
markets.

Adding to the challenge for real estate consumers and the industry is
that many homeowners are simply not listing their homes. Why?

Overall, a significant majority of Homeowner Sentiment Survey
respondents (71%) said U.S. real estate is heading in the right
direction, though this number is down from first quarter results. Yet
among contemplators – those who are considering selling their homes but
have not yet listed – 73% point to home prices that have not recovered
to pre-recession levels, and 61% say uneasiness about the U.S. economy
has kept them on the sidelines to this point.

“Though home prices around the country have recovered much of the ground
lost during the downturn, contemplators are telling us they want more
confidence in the decision to list,” said HSF Affiliates CEO Gino
Blefari. “They’re also telling us they need more information about their
markets, pricing and specific home improvement in order to list.”

In general, respondents said credit-score impairment caused during the
downturn, stringent lending guidelines and the competitive landscape for
homes – in particular, the challenge facing first-time buyers in
competing with all-cash, equity-flush and international buyers – as top
concerns today. Among current homeowners, 68% said underwater mortgages
remain a hurdle.

Ironically, less than half of all respondents identified low inventory
as a market challenge and only a small minority – 12% of prospective
homeowners and 6% of current homeowners – described housing inventory as
“decreasing.” Still, the most common barriers cited by contemplators for
not yet listing reflect the inventory shortfall, including “Waiting for
the right opportunity” and “Haven’t found my ideal home yet.”

“This is a classic case of supply and demand,” said Berkshire Hathaway
HomeServices President Stephen Phillips. “The low supply of homes in
many markets creates a strong opportunity for those able and willing to
list their properties. Good homes priced correctly are selling quickly
in many cases.”

Opportunity also exists for buyers as mortgage rates remain near
historic lows. And, as more homes come on the market, balance will
return to U.S. real estate, Phillips added.

“Education is essential in today’s market,” explained Blefari, noting
that 55% of contemplators said they’d be more likely to list if they had
additional information on the home-selling process. “The stage is set
for real estate professionals to connect with consumers, learn their
needs and concerns and determine the best way for sellers and buyers to
capitalize on the opportunities that exist today.”

Full survey details are available upon request.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Consumer Sentiment Survey Methodology

Interviews with 2,557 respondents were conducted online by Edelman
Berland in July 2015. The respondents captured were either current
homeowners (individuals who currently own a home as a primary residence)
or prospective homeowners (individuals who are looking to buy a home
within the next six months). The margin of error is +/-1.9% for all
respondents.

About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and HSF Affiliates LLC

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, based in Irvine, CA, is a real estate
brokerage network built for a new era in residential real estate. The
network, among the few organizations entrusted to use the world-renowned
Berkshire Hathaway name, brings to the real estate market a definitive
mark of trust, integrity, stability and longevity.

Irvine, CA-based HSF Affiliates LLC operates Berkshire Hathaway
HomeServices, Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate
franchise networks. The company is a joint venture of which HomeServices
of America, Inc., the nation’s second-largest, full-service residential
brokerage firm, is a majority owner. HomeServices of America is an
affiliate of world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Contacts

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Kevin Ostler, (949) 794-7980
kevinostler@hsfranchise.com
or
Marisa
Pincas, (212) 704-8112
marisa.pincas@edelman.com