Consumers nationwide were asked in a recent survey whether this is a good time to buy a house.
Surprisingly, consumers were feeling less confident about buying a home, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the the National Realtor Association, told real estate professionals from Bradenton-Sarasota on Wednesday.
And that was despite a strong economy, rising home prices and low interest rates.
With a shortage of inventory, potential home buyers often feel like they need to make an offer before they are ready or somone else snaps up the home, Yun said.
Consumer outlook on home buying is not about the economy or the appreciation in housing prices, but the shortage of inventory, he said.
A big concern to renters looking to buy a home is rising prices. From 2011-17, income has risen 15 percent, while home prices have risen 48 percent, Yun said.
Available home inventory is still trending down, and home ownership among Americans is near a 50-year low, he said.
There are several reasons for the shortage of homes for sale, including the fact that homeowners are staying in the same home longer than in the past, and the homebuilding industry has not rebounded to levels seen before the Great Recession.
Job openings in the Bradenton-Sarasota area remain "sky-high," Yun said, and as long as there are jobs, and no recession on the horizon, there will be a demand for a housing.
Beth Barnett, a real estate sales associate for Coldwell Banker based at Lakewood Ranch, said she doesn't relate to Yun's comments about an inventory shortage because of all the new home construction in Manatee County.
"Where we have a shortage of homes for sale is in the price range under $400,000," she said.
"We are having more problems selling resales because we are competing with new construction," she said.
The median sales price for an existing single-family home in Manatee County fell in March to $285,000, down from $300,000 in February.
In the most recent Multiple Listing Service report for the Bradenton-Sarasota area, there were 387 price reductions, Barnett said.
Greg Owens, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, said that ultimately, buyers determine the selling price of a home.
"We don't have a lot of inventory in homes under $400,000, and you have a huge amount of buyers," Owens said.
International buyers represent a growing segment of the market nationally, and statewide.
International buyers accounted for $23.8 billion of sales of Florida residential properties in 2017, Yun said.
Seventy-three percent of those were all-cash deals, and for higher-end houses, he said.
In Florida, Canadians, Brazilians, and Brits account for the largest share of international buyers, Yun said.