Americans participating in Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey were apparently not caught unawares by the recent spike in mortgage interest rates. The share of those participating in the June round of questions who expected loan rates to increase over the next 12 months shot up 11 percentage points from the May survey to 57 percent, the highest level in the survey's three year history. The number of respondents who expect home prices to continue their upward momentum also hit a survey high of 57 percent, up two percentage points from the previous survey. Respondents slightly moderated their expectations for the degree of price changes over the next month from 3.9 percent to 3.8 percent.
Fannie Mae said that these expectations regarding home prices and rates may push prospective homebuyers into the market "sooner rather than later." Although sentiment toward both the current home buying and selling environments retreated slightly, those saying it is a good time to buy or to sell stayed near the survey highs reached last month at 72 percent and 36 percent respectively.
"The spike in mortgage rate expectations this month seems to have had an impact on a number of the survey's indicators and may increase housing activity in the near term by driving urgency to buy," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "Consumers may recognize that today's still favorable mortgage rates and homeownership affordability levels will recede over time. Given rising home and rental price expectations and improving personal financial attitudes, more prospective homebuyers may be deciding that now is the time to get off the fence."
Nearly as many respondents expect rentals to rise as expect an increase in home prices. Eight percent more Americans say rents will rise over the next 12 months as responded that way last month, a total of 56 percent and the highest level since the survey began. The average 12-month rental price change expectation jumped 1.2 percent to 4.6 percent.
Americans' outlook on their personal finances also increased significantly in June. The share who expect their personal financial situation to improve during the next year climbed to 46 percent, the highest level since June 2010. The share who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago jumped 6 percentage points to a survey high 26 percent.
Right track/wrong track responses regarding the economy continue flat. Right track responses have moved between 38 and 40 percent for months and edged down two points to 38 this month while wrong track responses moved up 2 points to 55.
Forty-seven percent of respondents think it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, a slight increase over last month while the share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move decreased slightly to 65 percent.
Fannie Mae surveys roughly 1,000 Americans by phone each month, asking a series of around 100 questions to assess attitudes toward owning and renting a home, trends in home and rental prices, homeownership distress, the economy, and other housing-related issues. The respondent panel is comprised of renters and home owners both with and without mortgages on their properties. The June Survey was conducted between June 3, 2013 and June 22, 2013.