Consumers are showing some increased optimism about the
direction of the housing market and their personal finances, but
their overall view of the economy remains a mixed bag.
That's based on the newest
National Housing Survey, taken in January. The monthly survey found
that while consumers believe that the market is getting somewhat
better for home sellers and are feeling increasingly positive about
their own financial situation, they also see their personal
expenses rising and are a bit more pessimistic about the economy
than they were a few months ago.
More expect prices to rise
According to the survey, 23 percent now think it's a good time
to sell a home. While that's still a fairly low number, it's a
significant increase from the 11 percent who thought so one year
ago at this time. Meanwhile, the share who thinks it's a good time
to buy remained at 69 percent, the same as January 2012.
Asked about the direction they expect home prices to take, 41
percent expect that home prices will rise over the next 12 months,
up from 30 percent in one year ago. On the question of personal
finances, 23 percent of adults said their household income has
improved significantly from one year ago, up from 18 percent in
"The upward trend over the past year and a half in the share of
consumers who say it's a good time to sell may reflect two related
events," said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae chief economist." First,
homeowners see that home prices are improving. Second, the number
of homeowners who are underwater is declining, reducing a barrier
for those owners who need to sell their home in order to buy a new
Duncan also said that growing payrolls seem to be reducing
concerns over unemployment, which may give potential buyers more
confidence that they can afford a home.
Concerns over economy, finances
At the same time, the survey also contained signs for concern.
Only 39 percent of respondents said they think the economy is on
the right track, up from 30 percent in January 2012 but down
sharply from the 45 percent who felt that way in November.
Homeowners have also become more pessimistic about their
personal financial outlook, with 19 percent saying they expect
their finances to worsen over the next 12 months, up from 13
percent in October. The share of those who say their household
expenses are significantly higher than they were one year ago has
also been increasing since last summer, with 38 percent saying so
in January, up from 32 percent in July.
The monthly survey polls over 1,000 U.S. adults to assess shifts
in attitudes regarding home ownerships and the economy in
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