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Fannie Mae Survey Hints At Increasing Housing Sector Optimism

Written by Than Merrill

As the U.S. housing sector continues its triumphant return from one of the worst depressions in history, optimism reigns supreme. At least that’s what the most recent results suggest from Fannie Mae’s October 2014 National Housing Market Survey. Accordingly, as per research data, America’s optimism about the housing market continues to increase. Due largely, in part, to encouraging signs associated with the job sector, Americans are more inclined to agree with the direction things are heading.

The October 2014 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between October 1, 2014 and October 25, 2014. 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.

Forty-five percent of the respondents involved in the Fannie Mae survey expect their personal financial situation to improve over the course of the next year – seven points higher compared to one year ago. Conversely, those expecting their financial situation to worsen decreased to 10 percent last month.

Despite reason for optimism, expectations about the economy remain tempered. While things appear to be heading in the right direction, the recession’s impact was resounding, and continues to resonate on a national level. People are just hesitant to believe the hard times are over, as only 40% of the respondents believe the economy is on the right track. Again, that says more about where we are coming from than where we are going.

“Consumers are growing more optimistic about the housing market in the face of broader improvement in economic sentiment,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The share of consumers who expect their personal finances to get better is near its highest level since the survey’s inception, while those expecting their finances to get worse reached a survey low. Home price expectations rose significantly this month, largely reversing the dip witnessed over the past four months, and the share of consumers who think it’s a good time to sell a home reached another survey high. The narrowing gap between home buying and home selling sentiment may foreshadow increased housing inventory levels and a better balance of housing supply and demand. These results may help drive a healthier housing market in 2015.”

Highlights of the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey include, but are not limited to:

  • Respondents expect home price changes to increase by as much as 2.8 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months fell by one point to 44 percent. The share who say home prices will go down decreased by one point to 7 percent.
  • Forty-eight percent of respondents expect mortgage rates to increase over the next 12 months.
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house fell to 65 percent. Those who say it is a good time to sell increased to 44 percent—a new all-time survey high.
  • Respondents expect the rental price change to increase by as much as 3.7 percent in the next year.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect home rental prices to go up in the next 12 months decreased by six percentage points to 49 percent.
  • The number of people who think obtaining a mortgage is difficult rose two percent.
  • The share who say they would buy if they were going to move fell to 65 percent, while the share who would rent increased to 30 percent.
  • Forty percent of respondents believe that the economy is on the right track.