Consumers Positive About Access to Mortgage Credit; Views Toward Economy Improving

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National Housing Survey Monthly Indicators

January 2014

Consumers Positive About Access to Mortgage Credit; Views Toward Economy Improving

More Americans now believe it would be easy for them to get a mortgage, according to Fannie Mae's January 2014 National Housing Survey results. Consumer attitudes regarding the ease of getting a mortgage climbed 2 percentage points to an all-time survey high of 52 percent, while those who think it would be difficult dropped 3 points to 45 percent. This indicates that consumers perceive that mortgage credit is more accessible. Even though this month's survey shows a more moderate expectation for home price gains within the next 12 months, the view that mortgage credit is more available may allow for continued but measured improvement in the housing recovery.

Monthly Housing Survey

Consumer attitudes toward the economy also improved in January despite downbeat jobs data for the past two months. The share of consumers who believe the economy is on the right track climbed 8 percentage points to 39 percent, while the share who believe it’s on the wrong track declined to 54 percent. Additionally, the share who expect their personal financial situation to improve in the next year increased to 44 percent, continuing an upward trend since November 2013.

“A majority of consumers now believe that it is getting easier to get a mortgage. For the first time in the National Housing Survey’s three-and-a-half-year history, the share of respondents who said it is easy to get a mortgage surpassed the 50-percent mark, exceeding those who said it would be difficult by 7 percentage points,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The gradual upward trend in this indicator during the last few months bodes well for the housing recovery and may be contributing to this month’s increase in consumers’ intention to buy rather than rent their next home. The dip in overall home price expectations, though notable, is consistent with our view of moderating home price gains this year from a robust pace last year, while positive trends in perceptions about the economy and personal finances over the next year support our view of stronger growth in the broader economy.”

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 January 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
January 2014 National Housing Survey Data Release (PDF)
Podcast – January National Housing Survey (.mp3)