Housing Survey Notes Improving Attitudes
Americans are feeling better about the economyrnaccording to results from Fannie Mae’s December Housing Survey released by therncompany this morning. Consumerrnsentiment, while still very low, improved during the last months of 2011 andrnthe number of Americans who say the economy is on the right track has risen 6 percentagernpoints since November. While the number who gave the “wrong track” answer wasrndown 6 percent as well, 69 percent of respondents still feel that the directionrnof the country is negative against only 22 percent who feel the right coursernhas been set. </p
The Housing Survey is a telephone pollrntaken of a rolling panel of homeowners and renters each month to assess theirrnattitudes toward owning and renting a home, mortgage rates, homeownershiprndistress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence. The current survey, involving 100 questionsrnand 1000 respondents was conducted between December 1, 2011 and December 20,rn2011. </p
When asked about housing, morernrespondents expected home prices to increase over the next year than did so inrnNovember and to increase an average of 0.8 percent. In November the average expectation was for arn0.2 percent uptick. On the personal finance side, for the first time sincernFebruary 2011 more respondents (40 percent) say their financial situation willrnget better over the next year than say it will stay the same (39 percent) and thernshare of consumers who state their income is significantly higher than it was arnyear ago rose 5 percentage points to 21 percent since the last survey while 59rnpercent say it has stayed the same, a decrease of 5 points. </p
According to Doug Duncan, vicernpresident and chief economist for Fannie Mae, “December attitudes havernrebounded from the lows seen during the debt ceiling debate and economicrndeterioration of Europe this past summer. There is marked improvement inrnconsumer sentiment regarding the direction of the economy, personal finances,rnand future home price expectations. This improvement is in line with the modestrnfourth-quarter pickup in the U.S. economy. However, while Decemberrnresults show that more Americans think the economy is on the right track,rnconsumer attitudes are still at depressed levels, with more than two-thirdsrnsaying that the economy is on the wrong track.”</p
While 52 percent of respondentsrnexpect that home prices will not change over the next 12 months, 26 percent are looking for an increase (up 4rnpoints) and 18 percent expect prices to go down (a 4 point decrease). </p
Nearly three-quarters (71 percent)rnof respondents feel that this is a good time to buy a home, an increase of 3rnpoints since November but only 11 percent view it as a good time to sell. Thirty-onernpercent of Americans say they would rent their next home, while 64% say theyrnwould buy, a 1 point increase from last month. Mortgagernrates will increase over the next year according to 36 percent up respondentsrncompared to 33 percent who held this opinion in November .</p
Only 5 percent of Americans thinkrnthat rental prices will ease over the next year while 43 percent expect rentsrnto increase. The average expectation is forrnan increase of 3.5 percent in rents compared to the 3.2 percent averagernexpressed in November.
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