April saw continued growth in American optimism when it comes to housing health, according to results in ""Fannie Mae's"":http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html monthly National Housing Survey.[IMAGE]
More than half of those who took the survey (51 percent, up from 48 percent in March) said they expect home prices to climb in the next year, while 10 percent--flat for the fourth straight month--expect declines. Thirty-five percent expect no changes.
April's report marks the first time in the survey's three-year history that more than half of respondents projected price gains. As of April 2012, only about a third (32 percent) of those surveyed said they anticipated price gains.
The average 12-month price change expectation was 2.7 percent, flat from March and down from February's high of 2.9 percent.
""Crossing the 50 percent threshold marks a significant milestone as most Americans believe a housing recovery is truly occurring throughout the country,"" said Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""Reflecting that increased optimism toward housing, the share of Americans who think it is a good time to sell has doubled during the last year. Many homeowners who have been underwater are gradually returning to positive equity, and selling is now becoming an available and attractive option again.""
The share of respondents who say now is a good time to sell rose 4 percentage points in April to land at 30 percent--double the percentage recorded last April. With market data showing that five out of eight people who buy a home have to sell their own home first, Fannie Mae says the ""increasing optimism toward the selling market may bode well for continued improvement in housing activity.""
The share of those saying now is a good time to buy held steady at 71 percent. Meanwhile, the share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move (as opposed to rent) increased slightly to 65 percent.
In broader economic matters, 39 percent of those surveyed said they believe the economy is on the right track, up 4 percentage points over March. Fifty-six percent said the economy is on the wrong track, down from 58 percent.
One-fifth of respondents said their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago, flat from March, while 16 percent said their income is lower, down from 17 percent.
The consumer outlook picked up, as well: The percentage of people who expect their personal situation to get worse over the next 12 months fell 5 percentage points to 16 percent, while the percentage of those expecting their situation to improve rose to 43 percent--just under last April's 44 percent.