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Has Consumer Outlook for the Housing Market Changed?

The latest poll from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows consumer expectations stayed mostly flat in February, particularly on the housing side.

According to responses in the New York Fed's most recent Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE), consumers last month indicated a median home price change expectation of 4.0 percent, reversing an increase to 4.6 percent in January.

Price change expectations hovered around 4.5 percent for much of last year's second half, coming down only when national reports indicated a slowdown.

Meanwhile, median income growth expectations fell slightly, though responses in the bottom and top quartiles lifted. Household spending expectations were also down.

On the topic of credit access, perceptions remained largely unchanged, though slightly more consumers said they think it is "somewhat" or "much" easier to get a loan.

Looking at labor, median earnings growth expectations pulled back slightly to 2.3 percent from January's high of 2.4 percent. While the median was down, though, the 75th percentile of responses rose to the highest level in the past nine months.

If laid off, consumers projected an average chance of finding a job within three months at slightly more than 46 percent, down from January. It may be a small comfort, then, that the mean perceived chance of being laid off was also down slightly, particularly among older workers.

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