Latest Fannie Survey Finds Americans Hesitant on Housing

by Houston Agent

Americans remain on guard in the most recent Fannie Mae survey.

Fannie Mae’s latest National Housing Surveyfinds homeowners in the U.S. are still uncertain about the future of housing and the economy, though a couple of indicators did maintain their numbers and resist declines.

Conducted via telephone, the survey polled 1,002 Americans and asked them more then 100 questions about homeownership, renting, mortgage rates, household finances, consumer confidence and other economically-related topics.

On the economic front, the survey found 46 percent of consumers expected their financial situation to remain consistent for the next year, while 65 percent said their incomes would remain level for the same time period.

Less optimistic were attitudes on the greater economy and costs of living. 77 percent thought that the economy is on the wrong track, and 36 percent reported higher expenses from last year (the latter state, Fannie notes, is down 7 percent from last month).

Doug Duncan, the vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae, said the GSE’s latest survey finds consumers largely where they have been through most of 2011.

“The October survey showed that consumers’ outlook for the housing market has remained downbeat, as they expect home prices to decline over the next year, extending the streak of negative outlooks to five consecutive months,” Duncan sad.
On the housing front, 69 percent of those surveyed felt it was a good time to buy a house, though only 10 percent saw it as a good time to sell. Thirty-one percent said they would rent their next home, but 66 percent said they would buy, a 3 percent increase from September.
Respondents remained skeptical of prices, though. 23 percent expected home prices to decline over the next year, but 19 percent expected price increases; the largest pool, 55 percent, expected values to stay the same.

Duncan said that as long as attitudes remain down on housing, a full economic recovery may prove challenging.

“The fact that sentiment appears to be in a holding pattern at depressed levels is a cause for concern for the development of the housing market and for the economy as a whole, as there will be no meaningful economic recovery without a housing recovery,” Duncan stated.

However, there are still some glimmers of hope for housing. Just last Friday, we reported on new data from the National Association of Realtors on first-time homebuyers, which revealed that not only are first-time homebuyers still present in the home buying market, but they are driving sales with nearly the same vigor of 2003 and 2004. So though housing is tough, bright spots remain.

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