National Housing Survey Results: Are Friends of Default Victims More Pessimistic?

by Houston Agent

According to the third quarter National Housing Survey conducted by Fannie Mae, there may be a correlation between consumer attitudes and personal experience. Results found pessimistic responses regarding the economy from those who know someone who has defaulted on a mortgage.

The latest survey provided in-depth findings regarding attitudes of consumers who know people within their neighborhoods who have defaulted on mortgages were more likely to share more negative attitudes towards the economy and its possibilities of improving; yet, interestingly enough, those who know defaulters did not seem any less likely to admit wanting to own a home.

“Knowing someone who has defaulted on their mortgage appears to be correlated with consumers being slightly more pessimistic about the direction of the economy, their finances, and their ability to obtain a mortgage, but does not materially correlate with their desire to own a home or their view of housing as a safe investment,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae, in a press release.

Fannie Mae’s survey showed that consumers who know defaulters are more likely to say that owning a home is better than renting than they are to say that buying a home is an unsafe investment. These consumers were equally as likely to express intentions to buy a home as those who do not know any defaulters. In fact, 92 percent of consumers who know defaulters claimed that buying makes more sense than renting, whereas only 89 percent of those who do not know defaulters said the same thing. Similarly, 78 percent of homeowners and 39 percent of renters who know defaulters said they are likely to buy their next home, as only 73 percent of homeowners and 35 percent of renters who do not know defaulters said the same.

Attitudes did shift where personal finance and economy were concerned, putting those who know defaulters on the more pessimistic side. Only 22 percent of renters who know defaulters expect home prices in the market to increase, whereas 29 percent of those who do not know defaulters said the same thing. 9 percent of homeowners and 21 percent of renters who know defaulters claimed high levels of stress and instability in regards to handling debts, where 4 percent of owners and 12 percent of renters who know no defaulters feel unstable.

“At the macro level, we see that economic activity picked up in the third quarter, thanks to a sizable rebound in consumer spending on services. However, the hike appears to have come out of consumers’ savings, as disposable income fell during the quarter,” said Duncan. “The improvement in consumer spending has not spilled over into big-ticket items such as housing, as consumers’ concerns over their finances and dissatisfaction about the direction of the economy remains elevated.”

See the full survey here.

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