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Spooky Fears Haunting Consumers?

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By Steve Cook

Consumers don’t plan to buy homes anytime soon because they think prices will fall farther next year, mortgage rates will stay low for a long time and they’re very worried about their personal financial situation.

Just in time for the Halloween season, that’s the takeaway from the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, which offered a few glimmers of hope for the housing industry.

Some highlights:

• One out of three consumers think that mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months (down 12 percentage points since August).

• Americans expect home prices to decline over the next year. On average, Americans expect home prices to go down by 1.1 percent.

• 18 percent of respondents expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months (the lowest reported number to date in the National Housing Survey), while 25 percent say they expect home prices to decline (down by 2 percentage points since August).

• While 68 percent of Americans say it is a good time to buy a home, only 10 percent of those polled say it is a good time to sell one’s home (up by 1 percentage point since August).

• On average, Americans expect home rental prices to go up by 3.3 percent over the next year, down slightly from the expected increase of 3.5 percent observed in August.

• Despite continued consumer caution about taking on a large financial obligation to buy a home, 63 percent say they would buy their next home if they were going to move (up by 1 percentage point since August), while 32 percent of Americans say they would rent their next home (down 2 percentage points since last month).

For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.

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