Baby boomers have typically held the most pessimistic view on housing among all age groups, but their opinions are changing. Sixty percent of baby boomers now view the housing market favorably, a 6 percentage point increase from the spring, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices' Homeowner Sentiment Survey of more than 2,500 Americans. Seventy-two percent of that group say low interest rates are the primary reason behind their increased optimism.
Among all home owners, 66 percent view the housing market favorably, a 5 percentage point jump from the spring and the highest level in more than a year. "We find this data particularly interesting in light of the housing-inventory shortage seen in many markets," says Gino Blefari, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. "As home owners feel increasingly confident about the outlook of housing and their home ownership investments, they are more likely to consider a move for themselves — up, down or laterally — to another market. Perhaps this is a signal that more existing homes may gradually come to market, freeing up more options for first-time and move-up buyers."
Millennials remain the most optimistic generation when it comes to the housing market. Seventy-six percent of those ages 18 to 34 say they view housing favorably, up 17 percentage points from November 2015. Eighty-five percent say that owning a home is a crucial part of the American Dream.
But millennials don't view mortgage rates as being as much of a deal as older generations. Only 13 percent of millennial respondents described mortgage rates as "low"; 53 percent say they're "average." What's more, millennials say one of the biggest challenges in purchasing a home is securing a low mortgage rate.
The biggest barrier for Gen-Xers is saving money for the purchase, according to the survey. Baby boomers say their biggest challenge is "finding a home that suits their family's wants and needs."