The number of homeowners who delayed selling because of the real estate market has declined slightly in the last 18 months, suggesting the pending supply of "visible" homes is stabilizing, operator Move Inc. said in releasing the results of a national housing survey.

The telephone survey of 1,000 adults, conducted Oct. 7-9, revealed that 17.5 percent of homeowners had put off a sale in the last 12 months because of market conditions. That’s down from the 19.2 percent who said the same thing in a survey conducted a year and a half ago.

More homeowners 35-49 had delayed a sale (22 percent), and those making $40,000 to $49,000 a year were also more likely to be waiting for market conditions to improve (21 percent).

If prices went up 20 percent, 55.4 percent of homeowners said they’d be motivated to sell, down from 61.6 percent of those surveyed in June 2009.

The decline in this measure of "pending price-motivated inventory" suggests many owners may have sold when the federal homebuyer tax credits temporarily shored up prices in 2010, Move said.

Based on the survey, a 5 percent increase in prices today would motivate 11.7 percent of owners to sell their home.

On the demand side of the equation, 23.1 percent of those surveyed said they’ve delayed purchasing a home because of concerns about the local real estate market.

Uncertainty about future prices, concern about the economy and jobs, and difficulty saving for down payments were the three main factors suppressing near-term demand, with only 2 percent of those surveyed saying they plan to buy in the next 12 months.

Just over half (55.1 percent) of those planning to buy in two or more years said they don’t have enough saved for a down payment or closing costs, while 53.1 percent of future buyers said they’re waiting because they expect prices to stabilize or increase.

Concern about their jobs or the economy as a whole was an issue for 52.5 percent of future buyers, and 34.6 percent said they’re waiting because they can’t qualify for a loan or that credit is not affordable.

Nearly three quarters of those surveyed (73.1 percent) believe conditions for buying a home a year from now will be the same or worse than today, while just under a quarter (23.2 percent) expect homebuying conditions will be better.

Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of those who plan to purchase a home say they’d be first-time homebuyers, and about three-quarters (76.6 percent) are so-called "Millennials," the generation born from 1982 through 2000.

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