Consumers Not Ready to Move on Housing Despite Improved Outlook on Economy
Americans are becoming more optimistic about the economy, but consumer confidence toward the housing market is lagging, according to results from Fannie Mae's December 2014 National Housing Survey™. Likely bolstered by a strengthening employment sector, the share of consumers who believe the economy is headed in the right direction improved by 5 percentage points to 41 percent. Those citing that the economy is heading in the wrong direction declined to 51 percent, the fifth consecutive monthly decrease. However, although the share of respondents who think it would be easy to get a mortgage today increased to 52 percent, tying the all-time survey high, the share who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago has remained flat at 25 percent.
"Despite consistent and robust job growth in recent months, consumer attitudes toward housing remained cautious in the final month of 2014," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "Our survey results show that consumer housing sentiment has, on average, been moving sideways amid some improvement in the general view of the economy. It is not surprising that the housing sector continues to lag behind the rest of the economy given the long-term financial commitment that getting a mortgage represents. Many prospective homebuyers want to be certain that their personal finances can withstand potential downside risks to the economy."
"One notable result in the December survey is that the share of consumers believing that it would be easy to get a mortgage exceeds those saying it would be more difficult to get a mortgage by the widest amount in the survey’s history," said Duncan. "While this is a welcome signal, softness in consumer attitudes that drive housing demand will make for a subdued recovery and should persist absent more meaningful and sustained gains in household income."
Fannie Mae's monthly national consumer attitudinal survey report provides indicators offering a window into the opinions of Americans across the country. These behavioral insights convey what consumers think about the outlook for owning and renting a home and about their household finances, and may serve as key inputs for determining the future course of investment across housing types.
On this webpage you will find a news release with highlights from the survey results, the December Data Release highlighting 12 consumer attitudinal indicators, month-over-month key indicator data, technical notes providing in-depth information about the survey methodology, the questionnaire used for the survey, and a comparative assessment of Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey and other consumer surveys.
Downloads and Related Links
December 2014 National Housing Survey Data Release (PDF)