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 inception."