While the real estate market continues to improve slowly, Fannie Mae's November 2014 National Housing Survey finds some subtle shifts in consumers' attitudes.
Overall, buyers seems to be more optimistic about whether or not it's time to jump into the market; however, fewer homeowners think it's a good time to sell.
According to the survey, consumers' personal financial outlook has increased fairly steadily during the year, lending support to the ongoing housing market recovery. In addition, the share of respondents who expect mortgage rates to go up in the next 12 months decreased again to 45 percent. The overall trend seems to be empowering buyers.
However, the share who believe it's a good time to buy and sell a home moved further apart. Sixty-eight percent of consumers now say it's a good time buy, a 3 percentage point increase; but only 39 percent say it's a good time to sell – a 5 percentage point drop.
"November's National Housing Survey results support the 2014 trend of gradual, but often sporadic and unspectacular, improvement across a range of indicators measuring consumer attitudes toward housing – mirroring the uneven recovery in housing activity this year," says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.
Still, Duncan says potential buyers have a more optimistic outlook.
"More encouraging is the steady upward trend this year in consumers' assessment of their personal finances, with 46 percent of Americans – near the survey's high – expecting their personal financial situation to improve over the next 12 months," Duncan adds. "We expect consumer attitudes toward housing to improve … However, a sustained improvement … that could support a robust housing recovery … will require meaningful gains in household income."
Homeownership and renting
- The average 12-month home price change expectation fell to 2.6%
- 44% of respondents expect home prices to go up over the next 12 months, while 6% expect them to go down
- Fewer Americans (45%, a drop of 3 points) expect mortgage rates to go up in the next 12 months
- 53% of respondents expect home rental prices to go up in the next 12 months – a 4 point increase
- The share who think it would be difficult to get a home mortgage today decreased by 3 percentage points
- The share who would buy a home if they moved fell to 62 percent, while the share who would rent increased to 31 percent
The economy and household finances
- 36% say the economy is on the right track, a 4-percentage points drop
- 46%, an increase, expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next 12 months
- 25% say their household income is significantly higher today than it was 12 months ago
- 36% say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago