Consumers' Positive Housing Attitudes Withstand Fiscal Concerns

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News Release

April 08, 2013

Consumers' Positive Housing Attitudes Withstand Fiscal Concerns

Many Indicators Holding At or Near All-Time Highs Despite Sequester

Pete Bakel

202-752-2034

WASHINGTON, DC – Consumer confidence in the housing recovery remains firm in the face of budget sequestration and other fiscal policy concerns, according to Fannie Mae’s March 2013 National Housing Survey results. Although more Americans indicate greater pessimism regarding their personal finances and the economy, they continue to demonstrate optimism across key housing market measures. The share of consumers who believe home prices will go up in the next year held steady at 48 percent, the all-time survey high. Also reaching a survey high, 26 percent of respondents believe now is a good time to sell a home – nearly twice the share compared to the same time last year.

“Despite an uptick in concern expressed about the direction of the economy, it appears consumers believe that the housing recovery will march on,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Housing sentiment remains unshaken from the highs of the last few months. At the same time, perhaps driven by the experience of the past several years, consumers remain cautious in their housing outlook. While the survey shows a string of 17 positive one-year-ahead home price expectations through March, the average expected gains have remained below 3 percent. By comparison, main measures of national home prices in early 2013 posted year-over-year gains of at least double or triple that figure.”

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

Homeownership and Renting

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation fell slightly from last month’s survey high to 2.7 percent.
  • At 48 percent, the share of respondents who believe home prices will go up in the next 12 months held steady at the survey high, while the share who believe home prices will go down remained at the survey low of 10 percent.
  • The percentage of respondents who think mortgage rates will go up increased to 46 percent, the highest level since May 2011, while those who think they will go down dipped slightly to 6 percent.
  • Twenty-six percent of respondents say it is a good time to sell a house, up 1 percentage point over February and the highest level since the survey’s inception in June 2010.
  • At 4.1 percent, the average 12-month rental price change expectation increased 0.2 percent over February.
  • Fifty percent of those surveyed say home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, holding steady at the highest level since the survey’s inception for the third straight month.
  • The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move fell 3 percentage points to 64 percent.

 The Economy and Household Finances

  • At 35 percent, the share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track decreased 3 percentage points from February.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to get worse over the next 12 months rose by 4 percentage points to 21 percent.
  • Twenty percent of respondents say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, a slight decrease from last month.
  • Thirty-two percent reported significantly higher household expenses compared to 12 months ago, a slight increase over February.

The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled 1,004 Americans via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, 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 March 2013 survey, as well as a podcast providing an audio synopsis of the survey results and technical notes on survey methodology and 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 in-depth topic analyses, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies. The March 2013 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between March 2, 2013 and March 25, 2013. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.

Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group included in these materials should not be construed as indicating Fannie Mae's business prospects or expected results, are based on a number of assumptions, and are subject to change without notice. How this information affects Fannie Mae will depend on many factors. Although the ESR Group bases its opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views on information it considers reliable, it does not guarantee that the information provided in these materials is accurate, current, or suitable for any particular purpose. Changes in the assumptions or the information underlying these views could produce materially different results. The analyses, opinions, estimates, forecasts, and other views published by the ESR Group represent the views of that group as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.

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