Homebuyers feeling more confident

Homebuyers in 18 metro markets including Baltimore are feeling more confident about the residential real estate market, according to a survey released this week by real estate firm Redfin.

Seven in 10 active homebuyers believe that home prices will increase in their neighborhood within the next year, according to the survey. That’s up from six in 10 during the third quarter of the year. In the first quarter of 2012, just three in 10 people said they expected prices to rise in their community in the next 12 months.

Historically low interest rates were cited by 57 percent of respondents as a reason to buy a home soon. Although that was down 16 percentage points from the beginning of the year, it remains the most common motivating factor for wanting to buy now, Redfin said.

About the same percentage, 59 percent, said their main concern about buying a home now was low inventory — a problem that has been raised by agents in the Baltimore region. Potential buyers are walking away from the market now, agents say, in the hope that more desirable homes will be listed next year.

“Redfin expects the 2013 home-buying season to kick off early in January with very strong demand, which, paired with low inventory, will cause prices to continue to rise steadily into spring,” a statement from the company said.

Only five percent of the homebuyers surveyed said they are worried about politicians in Washington coming to an agreement on spending cuts and tax revenue before the end of the year. There was little concern among those surveyed that changes would be made to the mortgage interest deduction, a tax incentive that is beloved by homebuyers and the real estate industry, Redfin said.

Redfin’s conclusions are from a survey of 1,084 people who toured a home with a Redfin agent between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, the firm said. The respondents were from the following major home markets: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland, Riverside/San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington.

Have a real estate news tip or experience to share? Email me at steve.kilar@baltsun.com.

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