U.S. homebuyers, sellers optimistic despite volatility

The results also showed 58% of respondents were more interested in real estate, and 68% believe that real estate property values will recover in the next year or two. Last April, just 47% of respondents to the survey expected home prices would rise.

“This survey clearly demonstrates that Americans continue to be optimistic about the real estate market and believe home prices will rise,” said James Mallozzi, chief executive officer of Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services.

But there was also still strong concern about selling homes in the U.S., with 89% of respondents recognizing that they now can buy a property at a lower price.

The 20-city U.S. Case-Schiller composite index of U.S. real estate was already off 31.2% from its peak by the close of 2010. Three cities were down 8% in the past year alone: Phoenix, Portland and Atlanta. Only San Diego and Washington, D.C., had gained value in the index in 2010.

Meanwhile, U.S. household wealth has nonetheless climbed $2.1 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the Federal Reserve in its Flow of Funds report.

But the gains had nothing to do with real estate investment. Rather, it was a strong gain in the stock market, although household wealth is still $9 trillion below its pre-recession levels, according to Bloomberg.

The value of real estate held by U.S. households went the other direction in the fourth quarter, dropping $244 billion. This comes on the heels of a $629 billion drop in the prior quarter of real estate value held.

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