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Consumer Optimism Toward Housing Continues Gradual Climb Amid Easing Employment Concerns

Broad Positive Trends Expected to Boost Spring and Summer Selling Season (May 07, 2014)

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --Americans' outlook toward the housing market continued to improve in April, perhaps foreshadowing an increase in housing activity in the coming months, according to results from Fannie Mae's April 2014 National Housing Survey. The share of respondents who believe now is a good time to sell a home increased for the third consecutive month to an all-time high of 42 percent, an encouraging sign since many potential homebuyers will need to sell a home before entering the purchase market. In addition, the share of respondents who say now is a good time to buy a home remained steady at 69 percent following a gradual climb since the beginning of the year. Notably, although consumers remain generally split regarding their ability to get a mortgage, fewer respondents are concerned about losing their job which may encourage potential homebuyers to enter the market.

"Our April survey results suggest that consumer confidence is moving in a positive direction," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "Consumer attitudes about the current home selling environment have improved and now are at the most favorable level we've seen in the survey's four-year history. Consistent with Friday's upbeat jobs report, concern about job loss among employed consumers also has hit a record survey low. These results are in line with our expectations for increased housing activity and gradual strengthening of the housing market going into the spring and summer selling season."

Homeownership and Renting

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation increased from last month, to 2.9 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased slightly to 50 percent, and the share who say home prices will go down held steady at 5 percent, the all-time survey low.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months decreased to 52 percent, and those who said they will go down increased to 7 percent.
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house held steady at 69 percent, and those who say it is a good time to sell a house increased 4 percentage points from last month to 42 percent, an all-time survey high.
  • The average 12-month rental price change expectation decreased slightly from last month to 4.0 percent.
  • Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, holding steady from last month. Two percent of respondents said home prices will go down tying the all-time survey low.
  • Forty-five percent of respondents thought it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, falling 7 percentage points from last month.
  • The share who say they would buy if they were going to move decreased 3 percentage points to 65 percent.

The Economy and Household Finances

  • The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track increased 2 percentage points from last month to 35 percent.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to stay the same over the next 12 months decreased 4 percentage points to 41 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say their household income is slightly lower than it was 12 months ago decreased 2 percentage points to 12 percent, tying the all-time survey low.
  • The share of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago increased 6 percentage points to 39 percent.

The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled 1,000 Americans via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence. Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts (findings are compared to the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). Fannie Mae conducts this survey and shares monthly and quarterly results so that we may help industry partners and market participants target our collective efforts to stabilize the housing market in the near-term, and provide support in the future.

For detailed findings from the April 2014 survey, as well as a podcast providing an audio synopsis of the survey results and technical notes on survey methodology and questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Fannie Mae Monthly National Housing Survey page on Also available on the site are in-depth topic analyses, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies. The April 2014 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between April 1, 2014 and April 21, 2014. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.

Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group included in these materials should not be construed as indicating Fannie Mae's business prospects or expected results, are based on a number of assumptions, and are subject to change without notice. How this information affects Fannie Mae will depend on many factors. Although the ESR Group bases its opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views on information it considers reliable, it does not guarantee that the information provided in these materials is accurate, current, or suitable for any particular purpose. Changes in the assumptions or the information underlying these views could produce materially different results. The analyses, opinions, estimates, forecasts, and other views published by the ESR Group represent the views of that group as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.

Fannie Mae enables people to buy, refinance, or rent a home.

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