Consumer Concerns Regarding Economy Slow Housing Activity; Spring-Summer Buying and Selling Season Sputters Despite Drop in Mortgage Rates
Americans' concerns about the direction of the economy and their household income appear to be weighing on housing growth, according to results from Fannie Mae's May 2014 National Housing Survey. The share of respondents who still believe the economy is headed in the wrong direction remained at 57 percent last month, and those who said their household income is significantly higher than it was at the same time last year decreased four percentage points to 21 percent. Although respondents' attitudes toward housing have been generally positive during the past few months, their reluctance to enter the home buying or selling market has restrained activity below typical seasonal trends.
"Consumers’ lukewarm income expectations and reticence about the economy seem to be holding back housing demand," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “This year's spring and summer home buying season has gotten off to a slow start, even as mortgage rates have trended lower over the past two months. Our National Housing Survey data show that economic conditions continue to be the top concern among consumers who think it's a bad time to buy or sell a home. While recent housing activity suggests that the worst of the housing slump may be behind us, this caution among consumers supports our expectation that the rebound in home sales will likely be too modest to pull sales for all of 2014 ahead of last year."
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 May Data Release highlighting 12 consumer attitudinal indicators, a podcast containing highlights from this month’s survey, 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 the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey and other consumer surveys.