Optimism about housing gradually improving

by Ryan Smith11 Nov 2014
Americans’ optimism about the housing market is still improving, although gradually, according to the latest housing survey from Fannie Mae. That optimism may drive further housing market gains in 2015.

Fannie’s October 2014 National Housing Survey shows that Americans are feeling greater confidence in their household income and personal finances. The share of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to improve in the next 12 months rose to 45% -- seven points up from a year ago. The share of respondents who expect their finances to worsen dropped to 10%. And while only 40% of survey respondents said they felt the economy was on the right track, that’s still 13 points up from last year.

“Consumers are growing more optimistic about the housing market in the face of broader improvement in economic sentiment,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The share of consumers who expect their personal finances to get better is near its highest level since the survey's inception, while those expecting their finances to get worse reached a survey low. Home price expectations rose significantly this month, largely reversing the dip witnessed over the past four months, and the share of consumers who think it’s a good time to sell a home reached another survey high. The narrowing gap between home buying and home selling sentiment may foreshadow increased housing inventory levels and a better balance of housing supply and demand. These results may help drive a healthier housing market in 2015.”

Those who say it’s a good time to sell a house rose to 44%. The share of respondents who felt it was a good time to buy fell to 65%. Meanwhile, those who think mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months rose three points to 48%.

And that is having an effect on consumer attitudes toward buying. Those who say they would buy if they were going to move fell to 65%, while those who say they would rent rose to 30%.

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