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Consumer Optimism Toward Housing Continues Gradual Climb

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By Katie Penote

consumer_optimism_housingAmericans’ outlook toward the housing market continued to improve in April, perhaps foreshadowing an increase in housing activity in the coming months, according to results from Fannie Mae’s April 2014 National Housing Survey. The share of respondents who believe now is a good time to sell a home increased for the third consecutive month to an all-time high of 42 percent, an encouraging sign since many potential homebuyers will need to sell a home before entering the purchase market.

In addition, the share of respondents who say now is a good time to buy a home remained steady at 69 percent following a gradual climb since the beginning of the year. Notably, although consumers remain generally split regarding their ability to get a mortgage, fewer respondents are concerned about losing their job—which may encourage potential homebuyers to enter the market.

“Our April survey results suggest that consumer confidence is moving in a positive direction,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Consumer attitudes about the current home selling environment have improved and now are at the most favorable level we’ve seen in the survey’s four-year history. Consistent with Friday’s upbeat jobs report, concern about job loss among employed consumers also has hit a record survey low. These results are in line with our expectations for increased housing activity and gradual strengthening of the housing market going into the spring and summer selling season.”

Homeownership and Renting

• The average 12-month home price change expectation increased from last month, to 2.9 percent.

• The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased slightly to 50 percent, and the share who say home prices will go down held steady at 5 percent, the all-time survey low.

• The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months decreased to 52 percent, and those who say they will go down increased to 7 percent.

• Those who say it is a good time to buy a house held steady at 69 percent, and those who say it is a good time to sell a house increased 4 percentage points from last month to 42 percent, an all-time survey high.

• The average 12-month rental price change expectation decreased slightly from last month to 4.0 percent.

• Fifty-two percent of those surveyed says home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, holding steady from last month. Two percent of respondents say home prices will go down—tying the all-time survey low.

• Forty-five percent of respondents thought it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, falling 7 percentage points from last month.

• The share who say they would buy if they were going to move decreased 3 percentage points to 65 percent.

The Economy and Household Finances

• The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track increased 2 percentage points from last month to 35 percent.

• The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to stay the same over the next 12 months decreased 4 percentage points to 41 percent.

• The share of respondents who say their household income is slightly lower than it was 12 months ago decreased 2 percentage points to 12 percent, tying the all-time survey low.

• The share of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago increased 6 percentage points to 39 percent.

For more information, visit http://www.fanniemae.com/progress.

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