Real Estate Rebound: 37.5 Million Americans Say They Plan to Move This Year

More Plan to Buy a Home vs. Rent, Reversing a 2013 Trend

Seller Confidence Hits a Four-Year High

NEW YORK--()--More Americans are planning to find a new nest to feather in 2014, with 16% planning to move (vs. 10% in 2012), according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Among those who plan to move, buying has become more popular than renting, with more than 17 million Americans planning to purchase a home, condo or co-op (46% vs. 43% in 2013) vs. 16 million intending to rent their new pad, (44%, down from 47% in 2013.) Prospective buyers might have to shell out more to get what they want, as seller optimism reaches a four-year high, with 65% saying they feel confident in getting their asking price, up 25% since 2010.

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“All of the costs associated with moving can really add up, but more consumers are feeling confident that they can afford to put down new roots,” said David Rabkin, SVP of Consumer Lending Products for American Express. “With more people looking to purchase a home this year instead of rent, and with seller confidence on the rise, it will create an interesting push and pull as buyers and sellers negotiate.”

More Confidence, Less Prep

With seller confidence in a steady climb, only about a third of Americans (30%) feel that it’s a buyer’s market, down from 47% in 2010. However, there is still room for concessions, as most sellers (71%) say they’re more willing to sweeten the deal, a trend that continues to climb, up from 60% in 2010.

Despite feeling more flexible on concessions, significantly more sellers say they will de-prioritize certain improvements that might have been done in the past specifically to help property sell more quickly:

        2014       2013

Make small repairs to the inside and out (i.e., leaky faucets,

cracked windowpanes, damaged plaster)

      40%       69%
Paint the home's interior       36%       55%
Organize and remove clutter       36%       66%
Improve landscaping       33%       49%
Paint the home's exterior       23%       38%
Replace out of date appliances       19%       24%
Hire a professional cleaning service       14%       18%

Fewer Americans are taking advantage of low interest rates with just 21% planning to refinance this year, down from 25% in 2013. Of those who do, 26% plan to use the savings to pay off debt or bills, down from 38% in 2013.

Style Improvements and DIY Rising

Regardless of whether they will move or stay put, nearly three quarters of homeowners (73%) plan to make some type of home improvement this year, spending $4,000 on average, on par with 2013. More Americans are opting to take on home improvement projects themselves, with 72% planning to “DIY” this year, up from 66% in 2010. Hiring a contractor to handle the work is on the decline and down to 15% this year, compared to 22% in 2010.

For the second year in a row, personal style is the biggest factor in deciding to renovate (35% vs. 33% in 2013). While DIY and design TV shows are among the most influential in providing home style inspiration, more are finding inspiration from social media than in years past (19% vs. 14% in 2013 and 7% in 2012). The top sources of renovation inspiration are:

        2014       2013
DIY and design TV shows       38%       39%
In store displays       35%       36%
Online design and/or DIY web sites       30%       30%
Home décor magazines       29%       29%
Homes of friends, family and neighbors       29%       29%
Social media sites       19%       14%
Home décor catalogues       17%       19%
Local design showrooms or model homes       15%       22%
Advice from an interior designer       8%       8%
Other       4%       4%

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 1,086 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as an Affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity, formerly Echo Research, between February 12 –14, 2014. The results reported in this release have an overall margin of error of +/- 2.5 (total) at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpresslinkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and corporate card.

About EbiquityPlc

Ebiquity provides independent data-driven insights to global media, marketing and communications professionals to continuously improve clients' business performance. This includes specialized services in research supporting creative testing, brand/advertising tracking, corporate reputation, brand image, research for public relations and thought leadership, global media/social media content analysis, and communications research. Ebiquity acquired Echo Research in May, 2011 and Echo officially started conducting business under the Ebiquity name on July 1, 2013. Learn more at Ebiquity.com

Contacts

American Express
Kimberly Litt, 212-640-0453
Kimberly.b.litt@aexp.com

More Americans are opting to take on home improvement projects themselves, with 72% planning to "DIY" this year, up from 66% in 2010. (Graphic: Business Wire)

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Release Summary

More Americans are planning to find a new nest to feather in 2014, with 16% planning to move (vs. 10% in 2012), according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.

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Contacts

American Express
Kimberly Litt, 212-640-0453
Kimberly.b.litt@aexp.com