Consumers continued to express their hope for the future of the economy despite recent month-to-month volatility in the housing market that has softened the ongoing recovery, according to Fannie Mae.
Experts believe improving attitudes could indicate a pick-up in home buying and selling activity this spring.
According to Fannie Mae’s March 2014 National Housing Survey results, the share of survey respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home climbed to 38 percent last month, compared with 26 percent at the same time last year. In addition, those who believe it would be easy to get a mortgage today increased to 52 percent, compared with 47 percent a year ago, and tying the all-time survey high.
The survey also showed that fewer Americans believe their financial situation will worsen in the next year, taking an impressive dive from 21 percent to 12 percent since March 2013. Those whose personal financial situation improved during the past year reached an all-time survey high of 40 percent.
“The housing recovery continues to proceed in fits and starts. Rising mortgage rates and a lack of supply have dampened housing market momentum,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “However, we see several positive signs going into this year's spring home buying season, compared with last year. For example, consumers are less pessimistic about their personal finances, and more optimistic about the current selling environment and their ability to get a mortgage. Still, those who are pessimistic about buying or selling a home today tend to point to economic conditions as the primary issue, and most consumers continue to say the economy is on the wrong track. Looking forward, we expect to see a pickup in economic growth later in the year, and this may boost the confidence of prospective buyers and sellers.”
Here are a few more highlights from the survey:
Those who say it is a good time to buy a house increased slightly from last month to 69 percent and those who say it is a good time to sell a house increased 4 percentage points from last month to 38 percent.
The share who say they would buy if they were going to move increased 2 percentage points to 68 percent.
The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track continued on a downward trend – decreasing 2 percentage points from last month to 33 percent.
The Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled 1,000 Americans via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence. Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts (findings are compared with the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010).
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