Why Home Buyers Are Cautious About Housing

While home buyers confidence in the economy is growing, they remain hesitant about the housing market, according to Fannie Mae’s December 2014 National Housing Survey of 1,000 respondents.                                    home buyers

One piece of good news is that more potential home buyers believe it’s getting easier to qualify for a mortgage, with the share of those surveyed rising to 52 percent in December and tying an all-time survey high. On the other hand, their confidence in their household incomes remain shaky. The share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago has mostly remained flat at 25 percent, the survey shows.

“Despite consistent and robust job growth in recent months, consumer attitudes toward housing remained cautious in the final month of 2014,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “Our survey results show that consumer housing sentiment has, on average, been moving sideways amid some improvement in the general view of the economy. It is not surprising that the housing sector continues to lag behind the rest of the economy, given the long-term financial commitment that getting a mortgage represents. Many prospective home buyers want to be certain that their personal finances can withstand potential downside risks to the economy.”

Some additional findings from Fannie Mae’s December survey include:

  • Forty-six percent of those surveyed believe home prices will rise in the next 12 months, while only 8 percent say they believe prices will fall.
  • The number of home buyers who say now is a good time to buy a house fell to 64 percent, a drop in December month-over-month.
  • The number of home buers who say now is a good time to sell rose by 1 percentage point to 40 percent.
  • The number of adults surveyed who say they would purchase a home if they were going to move dropped to 61 percent, an all-time survey low. On the other hand, the share who say they would rent rose 3 percentage points to 34 percent.
  • The percentage of those surveyed who say they expect their personal financial situation to improve over the next 12 months fell to 45 percent.

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Source: Fannie Mae

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