Fannie Mae said today that results of
its monthly National Housing Survey shows that Americans are aware of and
following trends in the housing market.
The outlook toward housing growth voiced by survey respondents has
generally moved upward since the beginning of the year but now appears to have
plateaued, perhaps due to concerns over the potential tapering of the Federal
Reserve's asset purchases.
"The spike in mortgage rates associated with the possibility
that the Fed will begin to wind down its asset purchase program later this
month has dampened the improving trend in consumer sentiment regarding housing
witnessed in our survey since the start of this year," said Doug Duncan, senior
vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "The pause in positive
momentum is consistent with slowing trends in home purchase contract signings
and mortgage applications. Interest rate volatility will likely remain
elevated, even after we have more clarity on the pace of the Fed's tapering,
due to concerns over the upcoming budget and debt ceiling debates as well as
the crisis in Syria."
A majority of survey respondents still expect home prices to
increase over the next 12 months and that number increased 2 percentage points
from July to 55 percent but is below early summer responses. The pace at which respondents expect price to
rise dropped to 3.4 percent from 3.9 percent in July.
Additionally, the share of Americans who say it is a good
time to buy a home has stayed relatively flat during the past year and
decreased 3 percentage points in August.
Those who say it is a good time to sell increased fairly steadily since
the first of the year but fell 4 percentage points to 36 percent in August.
Americans have a similar view about rental prices. The number of respondents who expect rents to
continue to increase, while still a majority, fell slightly in August (from 54
to 53 percent) as did the rate at which they expect those rents to go up,
dipping from 4.2 percent to 4.1 percent.
Expectations about mortgage rates leveled off a bit with 60
percent expecting further increases - down from 62 percent - while those who
feel rates have stabilized rose from 28 percent to 31 percent. Forty-six percent of respondents feel it
would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today while 53 percent view it as
a difficult proposition. Both views were
up 1 percentage point from July.
At 37 percent, the share of respondents who say the economy
is on the right track decreased 3 percentage points from July but there was a one
point increase in persons who expect their own financial situation to improve
over the next 12 months and a 3 month drop in those who expect it to get
The National Housing Survey is conducted every month by
telephone among 1,001 Americans including persons who own their homes with a
mortgage and without a mortgage and persons who rent. The survey is designed to assess attitudes toward
owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership
distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence.