The REALTORS® Confidence Index (RCI) survey[1] gathers monthly information from REALTORS® about local real estate market conditions, characteristics of buyers and sellers, and issues affecting homeownership and real estate transactions.[2] This report presents key results about market transactions from September 2018. View and download the full report here.

Market Conditions and Expectations

  • The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index registered at 51 (61 in September 2017).[3]
  • The REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index registered at 41 (45 in September 2017).
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index—SixMonth Outlook Current Conditions registered at 53 for detached single-family, 44 for townhome, and 43 for condominium properties. An index above 50 indicates market conditions are expected to improve.
  • Properties were typically on the market for 32 days (34 days in September 2017).
  • Eighty-one percent of respondents reported that home prices remained constant or rose in September 2018 compared to levels one year ago (85 percent in September 2017).

Characteristics of Buyers and Sellers

  • First-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of sales (29 percent in September 2017).
  • Vacation and investment buyers comprised 13 percent of sales (15 percent in September 2017).
  • Sales of distressed properties (foreclosed or sold as a short sale) accounted for three percent of sales (four percent in September 2017).
  • Cash sales made up 21 percent of sales (20 percent in September 2017).
  • Twenty percent of sellers offered incentives such as providing warranty (9 percent), paying for closing costs (8 percent), undertaking remodeling (3 percent), and providing appliances (1 percent).[4]

Issues Affecting Buyers and Sellers

  • From July–September 2018, 74 percent of contracts settled on time (73 percent in September 2017).
  • Among sales that closed in September 2018, 73 percent had contract contingencies. The most common contingencies pertained to home inspection (55 percent), obtaining financing (42 percent), and getting an acceptable appraisal (42 percent).
  • REALTORS® report “low inventory” and “interest rate” as the major issues affecting transactions in September 2018.

About the RCI Survey

  • The RCI Survey gathers information from REALTORS® about local market conditions based on their client interactions and the characteristics of their most recent sales for the month.
  • The September 2018 survey was sent to 50,000 REALTORS® who were selected from NAR’s 1.3 million members through simple random sampling and to 10,912 respondents in the previous three surveys who provided their email addresses.
  • There were 5,003 respondents to the online survey which ran from October 1-10, 2018. The survey’s overall margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is one percent. The margins of error for subgroups and sample proportions of below or above 50 percent are larger.
  • NAR weighs the responses by a factor that aligns the sample distribution of responses to the distribution of NAR membership.

The REALTORS® Confidence Index is provided by NAR solely for use as a reference. Resale of any part of this data is prohibited without NAR’s prior written consent. For questions on this report or to purchase the RCI series, please email: Data@realtors.org


[1] Thanks to George Ratiu, Managing Director, Housing and Commercial Research and Gay Cororaton, Research Economist for their data analysis and comments to the RCI Report.

[2] Respondents report on the most recent characteristics of their most recent sale for the month.

[3] An index greater than 50 means more respondents reported conditions as “strong” compared to one year ago than “weak.” An index of 50 indicates a balance of respondents

who viewed conditions as “strong” or “weak.”

[4] The difference in the sum of percentages to the total percentage of sellers who offered incentives is due to rounding.