Americans' Personal Finance Sentiment Strengthens, Housing Optimism Follows Suit

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News Release

November 07, 2014

Americans' Personal Finance Sentiment Strengthens, Housing Optimism Follows Suit

Confidence in Home Selling Environment Hits New Survey High

Katie Penote

202-752-2261

WASHINGTON, DC – Results from Fannie Mae’s October 2014 National Housing Survey show Americans’ optimism about the housing market continued its gradual climb amid greater confidence in household income and personal finances. The share of respondents who say they expect their personal financial situation to improve during the next 12 months climbed to 45 percent – seven points higher compared to one year ago – while the share expecting their financial situation to worsen decreased to 10 percent last month. Although consumer attitudes about the direction of the economy remain subdued, with only 40 percent of survey respondents saying the economy is on the right track, the October results mark a 13 percentage point improvement compared to the same time last year.

"Consumers are growing more optimistic about the housing market in the face of broader improvement in economic sentiment," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "The share of consumers who expect their personal finances to get better is near its highest level since the survey's inception, while those expecting their finances to get worse reached a survey low. Home price expectations rose significantly this month, largely reversing the dip witnessed over the past four months, and the share of consumers who think it’s a good time to sell a home reached another survey high. The narrowing gap between home buying and home selling sentiment may foreshadow increased housing inventory levels and a better balance of housing supply and demand. These results may help drive a healthier housing market in 2015."

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

Homeownership and Renting

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation rose to 2.8 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months fell by one point to 44 percent. The share who say home prices will go down decreased by one point to 7 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months rose by three percentage points to 48 percent.
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house fell to 65 percent. Those who say it is a good time to sell increased to 44 percent—a new all-time survey high.
  • The average 12-month rental price change expectation rose to 3.7 percent.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect home rental prices to go up in the next 12 months decreased by six percentage points to 49 percent.
  • The share of respondents who think it would be difficult to get a home mortgage today increased by two percentage points.
  • The share who say they would buy if they were going to move fell to 65 percent, while the share who would rent increased to 30 percent.

The Economy and Household Finances

  • The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track held steady at 40 percent.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next 12 months increased to 45 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago remained at 25 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago fell slightly to 36 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). To reflect the growing share of households with a cell phone but no landline, the National Housing Survey has increased its cell phone dialing rate to 60 percent as of October 2014. For more information, please see the Technical Notes. 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 October 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 October 2014 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between October 1, 2014 and October 25, 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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