Consumer confidence in the housing market has trended upward significantly during the recovery but continues to be less than needed to return to “normal” housing levels, according to results from Fannie Mae’s June 2014 National Housing Survey. On average, consumers’ 12-month home price-change expectation remained in positive territory in June at 2.4 percent but dipped slightly from the previous few months, likely in response to a lackluster housing picture in the first half of the year. Additionally, the share of respondents who expect mortgage rates to go up in the next year increased six percentage points to 55 percent in June following a gradual decrease since February. While consumers appear positive overall and are trending in that direction, some survey and market indicators reflect a more subdued housing market, underscoring that the recovery continues but is not yet robust.
“Since we began collecting monthly National Housing Survey data in June 2010, we’ve seen substantial progress in consumer home-price expectations and other key attitudinal measures as the housing recovery gained its footing,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Still, we do not expect to see ‘normal’ levels of new residential construction, in the region of 1.6 million new housing units per year, before the end of 2016, our original projection. Such a feat would require a pace of growth in housing starts not seen in decades.”
“The uptick this month in the share of consumers expecting mortgage rates to go up and the accompanying decline in home-price expectations reflect the pause of activity in the housing market so far this year,” says Duncan. “Despite recent improvement, we now expect an annual decline in existing home sales due to weak volume in the first four months of the year associated with the rise in mortgage rates mid-last year and the current dearth of supply of lower-priced homes. On the bright side, the share of employed consumers who expressed concerns about losing their job dropped to an all-time survey low in June, consistent with last week’s upbeat jobs report. This may encourage potential homebuyers to enter the purchase market in 2014, helping to offset some of the weakness in sales activity.
Homeownership and Renting
- The average 12-month home price-change expectation fell to 2.4 percent.
- The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months fell to 46 percent, and the share who say home prices will go down increased to 10 percent.
- The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months increased six percentage points to 55 percent.
- Those who say it is a good time to buy a house rose to 70 percent, and those who say it is a good time to sell a house fell to 40 percent.
- The average 12-month rental price change expectation increased to 4.3 percent.
- The percentage of respondents who expect home rental prices to go up increased to 54 percent.
- Fifty-two percent of respondents thought it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today—matching the all-time high.
- The share who say they would buy if they were going to move increased slightly to 68 percent.
The Economy and Household Finances
- The share of respondents who say the economy is on the wrong track fell by 3 percentage points from last month to 54 percent.
- The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next 12 months ticked up to 43 percent.
- The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly lower than it was 12 months ago decreased 1 percentage point to 11 percent—a new all-time low.
- The share of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago rose 4 percentage points to 38 percent.