By Nathalie Voit

The number of Americans who think now is a good time to buy a house has hit a record low, according to survey results from a recent Gallup poll published on May 4.

Only 30% of participants rate the current housing market as favorable for buyers. In contrast, 69% of U.S. adults say now is a bad time to invest in a new home.

The figure is down 23 percentage points from one year ago. It’s also the first time in the survey’s history that the reading has polled below 50%. Gallup began conducting its annual Economy and Personal Finance poll in 1978.

Even with the median sales price of a U.S. home averaging a record-setting $428,000, most Americans believe housing prices will continue to go up. Seventy percent of those surveyed expect average local housing prices to increase over the next year. Eighteen percent predict housing prices to remain unchanged, while 12% believe they will decrease.

The belief that now is not a good time to buy a house is consistent across all major subgroups. While certain subgroups varied in terms of their attitude towards the housing market, the percentage saying now is an ideal time to invest in real estate dropped at least 17 points in each category.

Just one in four young adults (ages 18 to 34) agree now is a good time to purchase property. That figure was 42% one year ago. Meanwhile, older adults (ages 55+) were more likely to rate real estate investments favorably, with 35% saying now is a good time to buy a house. However, that number is still significantly down from the 61% who held this view in 2021.

Nonetheless, many believe owning a home is still the best long-term investment strategy. Americans consistently rate real estate as the best long-term investment option (45%), followed by stocks/mutual funds (24%), gold (15%), savings accounts/CDs (9%), and bonds (4%).

“The combination of record-high home prices, rising mortgage interest rates, and a limited supply of housing is likely persuading Americans, for the first time in Gallup’s trend, that it is a bad time to buy a house,” Gallup said. “For now, Americans continue to expect home prices to rise, even though higher interest rates mean prospective homebuyers will have to stretch themselves to make higher mortgage payments or settle for a less expensive house.”

“Americans’ much more negative assessments of the current housing market may also keep them from looking to buy, which could lead to a slowdown in home sales. If that happens, it would reduce the demand for houses and could lead to a decline in home values.”