Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey for
November shows increasing confidence among Americans about the nation's housing
market and the direction of the overall economy. Exactly half of respondents feel the economy
is on the wrong track, down 33 percent from one year earlier and 6 percentage
points lower than in October. This is
the first time wrong track responses have been as low as 50 percent. Respondents who feel the economy is on the
right track have nearly tripled since November 2011, rising from 16 percent to
46 percent and have improved 6 percent in one month.
Fannie Mae's survey is a 100 question
telephone survey conducted each month with 1,000 respondents representing both
home owners and renters. Respondents are questioned regarding their attitudes
toward owning and renting a home, mortgage rates, the economy, their household
finances, and consumer confidence. The
survey has been conducted since June 2010.
Twenty-three percent of respondents view
this as a good time to sell a house, up 5 points from October and the first
time this metric has crossed the 20 percent line. Seventy-two percent view it as a good time to
buy a home, unchanged from October and a number that has held relatively stable
for most of 2012. Asked if they would
buy or rent their next residence should they move, 67 percent say buy, up one
point from the previous month and 29 percent said rent, unchanged from both
September and October.
The number of respondents who expect
house prices to go up decreased slightly to 48 percent while those expecting
further price declines was up 4 percentage points to 14 percent. The average expectation for that degree of
any price change remained at 1.7 percent.
Expectations for increases in home
rentals moderated, with 48 percent expecting rents to rise over the next year,
down 1 point from October while the percent expecting rents to decline
increased by 1 point. Among those who
expect rents to change the average expected increase was 4 percent compared to
3.9 percent in October.
Forty-one percent of respondents expect
mortgages rates to go up, an increase of 4 percentage points since
October. The number of respondents who
said it would be easy or it would be hard for them to get a mortgage crossed in
November with 51 percent saying "easy" and 46 percent "hard", almost the exact
reverse of the previous month
Despite the optimistic right track/wrong
track responses about the economy as a whole, the number of respondents who
expect their personal financing situation to improve or worsen over the next
year turned slightly negative with a 5 percentage point increase in those responding
they expected it to worsen compared to October.
Responses about trends in personal income and expenses over the past
year remained flat.
"Consumer attitudes toward both the
economy and the housing market continue to gather momentum, with many of our 11
key National Housing Survey indicators at or near their two-and-a-half-year
highs," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist of Fannie
Mae. "On the housing front, attitudes about the current selling environment
continue to improve, with a significant increase in those saying it would be a
good time to sell. This growing confidence in a housing recovery, in addition
to other factors, may reinforce growing consumer optimism regarding the
improving direction of the general economy. Those indicating that the economy is
on the right track has risen to 44 percent while those saying it's on the wrong
track has fallen to 50 percent, the smallest gap since the survey's