Housing Market Attitudes Stay Positive, According to Fannie Mae Survey

by Natalie Terchek


A Fannie Mae study reported that housing market attitudes are remaining optimistic in this recovery process.

Housing market attitudes remain optimistic in this recovery process, according to Fannie Mae’s March 2013 National Housing Survey results. Even though more Americans are pessimistic about their personal finances and the economy, they continue to remain positive about the housing market.

The survey results say the amount of consumers who believe home prices will increase next year held steady at 48 percent, the all-time survey high. Also reaching a survey high, 26 percent of respondents believe now is a good time to sell a home – nearly twice the share compared to the same time last year.

“Despite an uptick in concern expressed about the direction of the economy, it appears consumers believe that the housing recovery will march on,” Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, said. “Housing sentiment remains unshaken from the highs of the last few months. At the same time, perhaps driven by the experience of the past several years, consumers remain cautious in their housing outlook. While the survey shows a string of 17 positive one-year-ahead home price expectations through March, the average expected gains have remained below 3 percent. By comparison, main measures of national home prices in early 2013 posted year-over-year gains of at least double or triple that figure.”

Survey Results About Housing Market Attitudes and Economy

The Fannie Mae March 2013 National Housing Survey polled 1,004 via telephone interview for this study. Here is what they reported about consumers’s housing market attitudes:

  • 48 percent of respondents believe home prices will increase in the next 12 months (a survey high); 10 percent believed they will decrease (a survey low).
  • 46  percent (the highest level since May 2011) think mortgage rates will increase; 6 percent think they will decrease.
  • 26 percent say it is a good time to sell a house (the highest level since the survey’s inception in June 2010).
  • 50 percent say home prices will increase in the next 12 months (the highest level since the survey’s inception for the third straight month).

Here’s what the Fannie Mae survey results said about the economy and household finances:

  • 35 percent of respondents say the economy is on the right track (decreasing 3 percentage points from February).
  • 21 percent expect their financial situation to get worse (increasing by 4 percentage points)
  • 20 percent say their household income is higher than it was 12 months ago
  • 32 percent reported significantly higher household expenses compared to 12 months ago.

Local Housing Market Attitudes

Not only is this trend occurring nationally, but it is also occurring locally. Realtors are definitely feeling optimistic about the real estate market, and they notice a lot of buyers are feeling the same way. Eve Bremen of Coldwell Banker’s Winnetka office, said that 192 homes on the North Shore went under contract this week for Coldwell Banker.

“Numbers tell the story, and everybody’s numbers on the North Shore are improving dramatically,” she said. “If people are buying, they’re feeling more confident about making an investment in real estate. We’re feeling at certain price points, we need more inventory for the amount of buyers that we have.”

It’s true the economy is still not where it used to be. However, it is assuring to know that the real estate market is picking up, and judging by the consumers’s positive housing market attitudes, people are finally beginning to see it happening. We still have a long way to go until we completely rebuild the economy, but the survey results are a sign that shows we are on the path to recovery.

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