Consumer Housing Sentiment Continues to Rise as Employment Concerns Wane
More Americans Say Now is a Good Time to Sell
WASHINGTON, DC – Increasing confidence in home sales and an improved sense of job security provide further evidence of the strengthening of the housing market, according to Fannie Mae’s January 2013 National Housing Survey results. Underlying the growing sense of optimism, the percentage of survey respondents who think it is a good time to sell a home continued to climb to 23 percent last month from 11 percent the same time last year. While expectations regarding personal finances stayed relatively flat last month, other housing indicators remained at or near survey highs, indicating consumers remain confident in the stability of the housing market.
“The housing market continues to firm, with consumer home price expectations for both rental and ownership properties near the strongest levels that we’ve seen in the survey’s two-and-a-half-year history,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Concerns about job loss are waning as payrolls are growing – a trend that may give potential homebuyers more confidence that they can meet the financial obligation of homeownership. The upward trend over the past year and a half in the share of consumers who say it’s a good time to sell may reflect two related events. First, homeowners see that home prices are improving. Second, the number of homeowners who are underwater is declining, reducing a barrier for those owners who need to sell their home in order to buy a new one.”
Homeownership and Renting
- The average 12-month home price change expectation fell slightly from last month’s survey high to 2.4 percent.
- At 41 percent, the share of those surveyed who believe home prices will go up in the next 12 months decreased by 2 percentage points from December’s survey high, while the share who believe home prices will go down returned to the survey low of 10 percent.
- The percentage of those surveyed who think mortgage rates will go up decreased by 3 percentage points to 41 percent, while those who think they will go down dipped slightly to 7 percent.
- Twenty-three percent of respondents say it is a good time to sell a house, up by 12 percentage points year-over-year.
- At 3.7 percent, the average 12-month rental price change expectation fell 0.9 percent from last month’s survey high.
- Fifty percent of those surveyed say home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, a slight increase over December, and the highest level since the survey’s inception.
- The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move held steady at 65 percent.
The Economy and Household Finances
- At 39 percent, the share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track increased slightly over December.
- The percentage who expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next 12 months rose by 3 percentage points to 43 percent.
- Twenty-three percent of respondents say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, holding steady from last month.
- Thirty-eight percent reported significantly higher household expenses compared to 12 months ago, the highest level since December 2011.
- The percentage who are concerned they will lose their job in the next 12 months declined 1 percentage point to 19 percent, a survey low.
The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled 1,003 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 January 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 site. Also available on the site are quarterly survey results, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies. The January 2013 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between January 5, 2013 and January 28, 2013. 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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