to the most recent National Housing Survey conducted by Fannie Mae show
Americans continue to be cautious in their appraisals of the housing recovery
and of their own financial outlook.
Respondents appear to have recovered a little of their optimism about
the overall economy after October's 12 percentage point drop in the numbers who
thought the country was on the right track.
The frequency of that response increased by 5 percentage points to 32
percent but is still well below September's level.
National Housing Survey is conducted each month by phone among a panel of 1,000
households, both homeowners and renters.
Each is asked about 100 questions to assess their attitude toward home
ownership, renting, the economy, and their own personal finances. The current survey was conducted over the
period of November 1-20.
home price expectations have declined steadily since last summer. Forty-five percent of respondents now expect
home prices to continue to rise compared to 57 percent who held such
expectations in June. Among those who
expect further increases the average increase expected dipped to 2.5 percent
from 2.9 percent in September and 3.6 percent in June.
The share of those who expect mortgage rates to climb over
the next 12 months remains elevated at 59 percent after rising rapidly in June
from the low 40 percent rage. Only 3
percent of respondents expect further lowering of rates.
The share who say it is a good time to buy a house continued
to drop, falling to a survey low of 64 percent.
The percentage who consider this a good time to sell has varied little since
May and is currently at 37 percent.
"We continue to see
caution as the defining feature of Americans' attitudes toward the economy and
their personal financial situation. In this environment, the housing recovery
is likely to improve, but only at a gradual pace," said Doug Duncan, senior
vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "Our November National
Housing Survey results show a loss of momentum in expectations for home prices
and personal finances. Also, the majority of consumers expecting higher
mortgage rates implies a slowing of housing market momentum. As the economy
continues to improve and household balance sheets for most Americans are slow
to repair, we continue to see the transition to a full housing recovery as a
slow process. Upcoming fiscal policy discussions and labor market developments
may also lead to some bumps along the way."
Fifty percent of those surveyed said home rental prices will
go up in the next 12 months, decreasing two percentage points from last month
but the average 12-month rental price change expectation dropped to an all-time
survey low of 2.8 percent. The average
expected increase was 4.6 percent in June.
Fifty percent of respondents said it
would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, an increase of 4
percentage points from last month.
The share of respondents who said they would buy if they
were going to move decreased slightly, to 68 percent.
Respondent's expectations about their personal financial
situation did not change much; those who expect it to worsen over the next 12 months
held steady at 22 percent while those expecting an increase or no change were
fairly evenly divided at 39 and 38 percent.
The share of respondents who say
their household income is significantly lower than it was 12 months ago increased
slightly to 17 percent.