Housing Activity Loses Some Steam, But Positive Signs Crop Up Heading into Spring Home Buying Season; Consumer Optimism Trending Upward Since Last Year
Recent month-to-month volatility in the housing market has softened the ongoing recovery. However, the majority of the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey indicators on consumer attitudes have continued to move in a positive direction during the past year, which may portend a pickup in home buying and selling activity this spring. According to Fannie Mae’s March 2014 National Housing Survey results, the share of survey respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home climbed to 38 percent last month, compared to 26 percent at the same time last year. In addition, the share who believe it would be easy to get a mortgage today increased to 52 percent, compared to 47 a year ago, and tying the all-time survey high. Americans’ attitudes regarding their personal finances also have improved – those who expect their financial situation to worsen during the next 12 months decreased to 12 percent, a significant drop from 21 percent at the same time last year, and the share who say their personal financial situation improved during the past year reached an all-time survey high of 40 percent.
"The housing recovery continues to proceed in fits and starts. Rising mortgage rates and a lack of supply have dampened housing market momentum," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "However, we see several positive signs going into this year's spring home buying season, compared with last year. For example, consumers are less pessimistic about their personal finances, and more optimistic about the current selling environment and their ability to get a mortgage. Still, those who are pessimistic about buying or selling a home today tend to point to economic conditions as the primary issue, and most consumers continue to say the economy is on the wrong track. Looking forward, we expect to see a pickup in economic growth later in the year, and this may boost the confidence of prospective buyers and sellers."
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, 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.
Click here for an archived list of Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey Monthly Indicators.