Lackluster Income Growth Weighing on Americans’ Housing Sentiment; Share of Consumers Expecting to Buy a Home on Next Move Reaches Survey Low
Consumer attitudes toward housing appear to have stalled somewhat amid a recent dip in confidence regarding personal finances and income growth, according to results from Fannie Mae's March 2015 National Housing Survey™. Among those surveyed, the share who expect their personal financial situation to improve over the next year fell to 41 percent last month, while those who said their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago fell to 22 percent. Additionally, the share of respondents who said they would buy a home if they were to move decreased 5 percentage points to 60 percent – a new all-time survey low. On the bright side, the share of consumers who believe now is a good time to sell a home reached a new survey high of 46 percent, narrowing the gap with those reporting it is a good time to buy, perhaps signaling a more balanced housing market.
“Consumers are being patient prior to entering the housing market. Our March survey results emphasize how critical attitudes about income growth are to consumers’ outlook on housing,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “We've seen modest improvement in total compensation resulting from a strengthened labor market. However, income growth perceptions and personal financial expectations both eased off of recent highs, consistent with Friday’s weak jobs report. Simultaneously, the share of consumers expecting to buy on their next move has declined. We believe the recent setback in consumer sentiment should be short lived if early signs of income growth bear out and occur in proportion to expected interest rate increases. Meanwhile, the wait for housing expansion continues.”
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 March 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.