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Survey: Americans’ Attitude Mixed Toward Housing, Economy

mixed-numbers [1]The New York Federal Reserve's [2] year-end Survey of Consumer Expectations showed little change between November and December, though there was a slight dropoff in Americans' financial expectations, according to results released Monday.

Consumers' median earnings growth expectations were 2.5 percent for the year ahead in December, the New York Fed revealed. While that marks a step back from November's reading of 2.7 percent, it's still the second-highest reading since the start of that measure in July 2013.

For all 2014, median growth expectations came in at 2.3 percent, weighed down by a trough in confidence in the spring.

Median household income growth expectations also dipped but remained near their high at a rounded-off 2.9 percent.

While wage projections were down slightly, job market confidence improved, boosted by strong employment reports [3] through much of the year. According to the New York Fed, consumers last month said the average perceived probability of losing their job was 14.5 percent, down nearly a percentage point from November and the lowest level since July 2013. Improvements were seen across all education groups.

Meanwhile, the average probability of bouncing back into a job within three months of being fired was 51 percent, also up close to a percentage point and turning around a four-month decline.

The results mirror the latest National Housing Survey results released last week by Fannie Mae [4]. In that survey, Fannie Mae found 41 percent of respondents believe the country is on the right track economically, though a rising share reported declining household incomes.

As in the Fannie Mae survey, housing attitudes were mixed in the New York Fed's poll. Looking at the year ahead, the median home price change expectation was 3.6 percent in December, down from November's 3.7 percent and the 2014 average of 3.85 percent.

On the other hand, respondents were more optimistic about their chances of getting a loan. Compared to a year ago, 23 percent of Americans in the New York Fed's survey said credit is more available, an improvement from November. By this time next year, 24 percent expect credit to be at least slightly easier to obtain, up from 20 percent in November.