March 07, 2012Consumer Attitudes about Personal Finances and Housing Stabilize Alongside Positive Economic News
WASHINGTON, DC – Americans' concerns about key economic and housing issues are beginning to subside, according to results from Fannie Mae's February 2012 National Housing Survey. Consumers' attitudes have stabilized across most indicators – including personal finances, housing, and employment – demonstrating their sense that downside risks have abated somewhat compared to late summer and fall of 2011. While Americans' confidence in the direction of the economy has been the most pronounced (35 percent think that the economy is on the right track, up 19 percentage points since November, and 57 percent think the economy is on the wrong track, down 18 percentage points since November), their confidence about personal financial situations, household income, and household expenses, as well as attitudes about homeownership and renting is holding at steady levels. At the same time, Americans' concern about losing their job in the next 12 months has stabilized since the late fall, with 76 percent of Americans saying they are not concerned in February 2012, compared to 70 percent in November 2011.
“The pickup in the pace of hiring over the past few months has helped soothe consumer concerns, lifting their moods regarding their personal finances, the direction of the economy, and their views on the housing market,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae. “As a result, we’ve seen more potential for economic upside, creating a more balanced near-term outlook.”
The Economy and Household Finances
Homeownership and Renting
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, mortgage rates, 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 February 2012 survey, as well as technical notes on survey methodology and the 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 February 2012 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between February 1, 2012 and February 27, 2012. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.