Notably, respondents’ home price expectations climbed significantly in February: 50 percent saying home prices will go up in the next year – following a measurable downturn in January – while the share of those who believe it is a good time to buy a home ticked up by 3 percentage points.
At the same time, those who believe that it would be easy to get a mortgage dropped 7 percentage points from January’s all-time survey high of 52 percent.
Additionally, the share of respondents who say the economy is on the wrong track increased 3 percentage points to 57 percent in February, following a four-month decline.
Despite a decrease in optimism across some of the indicators last month, consumer attitudes remain in generally positive ranges. “We’ve seen a corresponding increase in volatility in our survey results, particularly for home price expectations and perceptions about the ease of getting a mortgage,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Weather may have played a role, as suggested by a 6 percentage point jump over the past two months in the share of consumers who say their household expenses are significantly higher than a year ago. This response would be consistent with higher home heating costs.
“Despite the volatile month-to-month changes, we believe that the housing recovery is continuing, but is not yet robust,” Duncan adds.
Homeownership and renting
• Month-to-month, the average 12-month home price change expectation increased to 3.2 percent.
• The share of people who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased 7 percentage points to 50 percent, while the share who say home prices will stay the same decreased by seven percentage points to 38 percent.
• The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months increased by 1 percentage point, to 56 percent.
• Those who say it’s a good time to buy a house increased from last month, up 3 percentage points to 68 percent.
• The average 12-month rental price change expectation increased from last month to 4.3 percent.
• 51 percent of those surveyed said home rental prices would rise in the next 12 months, an increase of 3 percentage points from last month.
• 45 percent of respondents thought it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, a 7-percentage point decrease from last month.
• The respondents who say they would buy if they were going to move fell 4 percentage points to 66 percent, and those who say they would rent increased to 30 percent.
The economy and household finances
• The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track decreased 4 percentage points from last month to 35 percent.
• The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to get better in the next 12 months decreased slightly from last month, to 43 percent.
• The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago increased 2 percentage points to 24 percent.
• At 36 percent, the share of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago rose 4 percentage points from last month.
© 2014 Florida Realtors®
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist