A majority of Americans, 71 percent, say now is a good time to buy a house, according to an April Gallup poll.

This is up 18 percentage points from a year ago and the highest level of housing-purchase optimism in four years.

However, sluggish home sales across the country mean that Americans aren’t putting their housing money where their mouths are.

Chief economist for Gallup, Dennis Jacobe, attributes American’s reticence to purchase homes to several factors:

  • Housing prices continue to decrease in many areas, and few buyers want to purchase a home and see its value decline immediately.
  • Surging unemployment rates and the enormous loss of wealth over the past couple of years has many consumers worried about making major new purchases.
  • Lenders who suffered huge losses by believing housing prices would never decline have gone from excessively easy loan underwriting to just the reverse. And even when mortgage loan underwriting standards return to “normal,” they will seem a lot more stringent than those of the housing boom years.

Take a look at the Gallup poll on Home Buying for more information and statistics from the survey.