Consumers Well-Attuned to the Housing Market

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News Release

September 09, 2013

Consumers Well-Attuned to the Housing Market: National Housing Survey Results Reflect Current Market Conditions and Concerns

Pete Bakel

202-752-2034

WASHINGTON, DC – Consumer attitudes are proving consistent with recent slowing housing market trends, indicating that they are well-attuned to the direction in which the housing market is moving. According to the Fannie Mae August 2013 National Housing Survey results, Americans’ outlook on housing growth – which has been trending upward since the beginning of the year – has hit a plateau, likely due to concerns regarding the potential tapering of the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases. 

“The spike in mortgage rates associated with the possibility that the Fed will begin to wind down its asset purchase program later this month has dampened the improving trend in consumer sentiment regarding housing witnessed in our survey since the start of this year,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The pause in positive momentum is consistent with slowing trends in home purchase contract signings and mortgage applications. Interest rate volatility will likely remain elevated, even after we have more clarity on the pace of the Fed's tapering, due to concerns over the upcoming budget and debt ceiling debates as well as the crisis in Syria.” 

Survey data show that consumers expect home prices to continue to grow on average during the next 12 months, but at a slightly reduced pace of 3.4 percent. Additionally, the share who say it is a good time to buy a home has stayed relatively flat during the past year while those who say it is a good time to sell a home has lost momentum recently. 

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

Homeownership and Renting

  • At 3.4 percent, the average 12-month home price change expectation decreased 0.5 percent from last month’s high.
  • The share of people who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months rose 2 percentage points to 55 percent, while those who say home prices will go down increased slightly from July’s survey low to 7 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months decreased 2 percentage points from last month’s survey high to 60 percent.
  • The share who say it is a good time to buy a house decreased 3 percentage points to 71 percent, and those who say it is a good time to sell a house fell 4 percentage points to 36 percent.
  • The average 12-month rental price change expectation fell to 4.1 percent, a slight decrease from last month.
  • Fifty-three percent of those surveyed say home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, a slight decrease from July.
  • Forty-six percent of respondents think it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, a slight increase from last month.
  • The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move increased slightly to 65 percent. 

The Economy and Household Finances

  • At 37 percent, the share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track decreased 3 percentage points from July.
  • The share of people who expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next 12 months increased slightly to 44 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago fell 3 percentage points from July’s survey high to 23 percent.
  • At 32 percent, the share of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago rose 2 percentage points from last month. 

The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled 1,001 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 to the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). Fannie Mae conducts this survey and shares monthly and quarterly results so that we may help industry partners and market participants target our collective efforts to stabilize the housing market in the near-term, and provide support in the future. 

For detailed findings from the August 2013 survey, as well as a podcast providing an audio synopsis of the survey results and technical notes on survey methodology and questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Fannie Mae Monthly National Housing Survey page on fanniemae.com. Also available on the site are in-depth topic analyses, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies. The August 2013 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between August 1, 2013 and August 21, 2013. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.

Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group included in these materials should not be construed as indicating Fannie Mae's business prospects or expected results, are based on a number of assumptions, and are subject to change without notice. How this information affects Fannie Mae will depend on many factors. Although the ESR Group bases its opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views on information it considers reliable, it does not guarantee that the information provided in these materials is accurate, current, or suitable for any particular purpose. Changes in the assumptions or the information underlying these views could produce materially different results. The analyses, opinions, estimates, forecasts, and other views published by the ESR Group represent the views of that group as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.

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