Americans' Attitudes on Housing Return to Positive Trend

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News Release

October 07, 2014

Americans' Attitudes on Housing Return to Positive Trend

Indicators Suggest Continued Modest Recovery in 2015

Katie Penote

202-752-2261

WASHINGTON, DC – Following a recent dip in consumer housing optimism, most indicators have rebounded to the modestly positive trend seen throughout 2014, according to results from Fannie Mae's September 2014 National Housing Survey. Turbulent geo-political factors likely weighed on Americans' attitudes toward the housing market during the past couple of months. In September, the share of consumers who say now is a good time to buy a home is back up to 68 percent, a four-percentage-point increase from August. Additionally, the share saying they would prefer to buy a home on their next move ticked back up to 66 percent after a three-point drop. The results  also show a notable jump in consumers’ views toward the economy, with 40 percent of those surveyed saying it is now on the right track – a five percentage point increase from last month.

"The September National Housing Survey shows a slight recovery in consumer housing sentiment after a two-month setback, bringing us back to the modestly positive trend we've seen over the last year," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "It might be too late to save this year's home sales from posting the first decline in five years. However, the return to an upward trend in housing sentiment, combined with this month's positive news on the jobs front, suggests that a broad-based, albeit measured, housing recovery is on track to resume in 2015. The results of the past few months show that consumer optimism remains cautious and somewhat volatile, and we'll likely continue to see bumps on the housing recovery path reflected in our survey results."

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

Homeownership and Renting

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation rose to 2.2 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months rose to 45 percent. The share who say home prices will go down decreased to 8 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months fell by five percentage points to 45 percent.
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house rose to 68 percent. Those who say it is a good time to sell also increased—to 39 percent.
  • The average 12-month rental price change expectation fell to 3.2 percent.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect home rental prices to go up in the next 12 months increased to 55 percent.
  • The share of respondents who think it would be difficult to get a home mortgage today decreased by one percentage point.
  • The share who say they would buy if they were going to move rose to 66 percent, while the share who would rent decreased to 28 percent.

The Economy and Household Finances

  • The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track jumped by five percentage points from last month to 40 percent.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next 12 months fell to 41 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago increased by two percentage points to 25 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago increased slightly to 37 percent.

The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, 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 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 September 2014 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 September 2014 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between September 2, 2014 and September 22, 2014. 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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