Housing Recovery Expected to Press On Despite Recent Volatility in Consumer Attitudes

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National Housing Survey Monthly Indicators

February 2014

Housing Recovery Expected to Press On Despite Recent Volatility in Consumer Attitudes

Americans' outlook on housing and the economy has fluctuated somewhat during the past few months, but the trend for most indicators remains positive overall, according to Fannie Mae’s February 2014 National Housing Survey results. Notably, respondents' home price expectations climbed significantly in February – with 50 percent saying home prices will go up in the next year – following a measurable downturn in January, while the share of those who believe it is a good time to buy a home ticked up by 3 percentage points. At the same time, those who believe that it would be easy to get a mortgage dropped 7 percentage points from January's all-time survey high of 52 percent. Additionally, the share of respondents who say the economy is on the wrong track increased 3 percentage points to 57 percent in February, following a four-month decline. Despite a decrease in optimism across some of the indicators last month, consumer attitudes remain in generally positive ranges.

Monthly Housing Survey

"Similar to the noisy economic and housing data published over the past few months, we've seen a corresponding increase in volatility in our survey results, particularly for home price expectations and perceptions about the ease of getting a mortgage,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Weather may have played a role, as suggested by a 6 percentage point jump over the past two months in the share of consumers who say their household expenses are significantly higher than a year ago. This response would be consistent with higher home heating costs. Despite the volatile month-to-month changes, we believe that the housing recovery is continuing, but is not yet robust."

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 February 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.

Downloads and Related Links
News Release
February 2014 National Housing Survey Data Release (PDF)
Podcast – February National Housing Survey (.mp3)