With concerns about employment easing, Americans are increasingly optimistic about the housing market, reports Fannie Mae in its April National Housing Survey. And, according to the mortgage buyer, this climbing optimism may foreshadow an upswing in housing activity through the summer months.
The results of the survey, released Wednesday, show that 42 percent Americans believe now is a good time to sell a home. Meanwhile, 69 percent believe it’s a good time to buy one. This is the third straight month that the percentage of respondents saying it’s a good time to sell has increased.
Fannie is taking it as a good sign that buying activity will increase in the coming months, as potential buyers may look to shed their homes in order to buy new ones.
Half the respondents to Fannie's survey believe home prices will increase in the next 12 months, while 52 percent said they expect mortgage prices to go up in the same time period. Related, respondents were generally split regarding their ability to get a mortgage. About 45 percent said they would expect no trouble in getting one, while 52 percent expect it would be difficult to do. And barely a third of respondents feel the economy is on the right track, despite their optimism for the housing market lately.
The encouraging thing, however, is that fewer people are concerned about losing their jobs, which, according to Fannie, may encourage potential homebuyers to enter the market. Also, nearly 90 percent said their income is either more stable or has improved over the past year. However, income gains were tempered by rising expenses—39 percent of respondents said their household expenses are "significantly higher" than 12 months ago.
"Concern about job loss among employed consumers has hit a record survey low," said Doug Duncan, senior VP and chief economist at Fannie Mae. Duncan also said that consumer attitudes are at the most favorable level Fannie has seen in the survey's four-year history and that "consumer confidence is moving in a positive direction."
Fannie’s April report largely mirrors the results of an April Gallup Poll, which showed that more than half of Americans surveyed feel confident about the housing market. According to that survey, American attitudes toward buying, selling, and home values are up to their highest levels since 2007.
"These more positive views of the housing market may help foster a situation in which home buying activity increases and home values continue to rise over the next year," the Gallup report stated. Almost exactly what Fannie found.