How confident are Americans in getting a mortgage?

More than ever, Fannie Mae says, and they may buy

More Americans surveyed now believe it would be easy for them to get a mortgage, according to Fannie Mae’s January 2014 national survey of consumer attitudes in housing.

Attitudes among consumers about how easily they could get a mortgage climbed 2 percentage points to an all-time survey high of 52%, while those who think it would be difficult dropped 3 points to 45%.

This means consumers perceive that mortgage credit is more accessible.

“A majority of consumers now believe that it is getting easier to get a mortgage. For the first time in the National Housing Survey’s three-and-a-half-year history, the share of respondents who said it is easy to get a mortgage surpassed the 50% mark, exceeding those who said it would be difficult by 7 percentage points,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

Despite the more moderate expectation for home price gains within the next 12 months, the view that mortgage credit is more available may allow for continued but measured improvement in the housing recovery, Fannie says.

Heedless of abysmal jobs data in December and weak jobs data in January, consumer attitudes toward the economy also improved, though those with a positive view are still in the distinct minority.

The majority believe the economy is on the wrong track – at 54%. Those who believe the economy is on the right climbed 8 percentage points to 39%.

The share who expect their personal financial situation to improve in the next year increased to 44%, continuing an upward trend since November 2013.

“The gradual upward trend in this indicator during the last few months bodes well for the housing recovery and may be contributing to this month’s increase in consumers’ intention to buy rather than rent their next home,” Duncan said. “The dip in overall home price expectations, though notable, is consistent with our view of moderating home price gains this year from a robust pace last year, while positive trends in perceptions about the economy and personal finances over the next year support our view of stronger growth in the broader economy.”

Notable findings from the survey

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation decreased from last month, to 2%
  • The share of people who say home prices will stay the same in the next 12 months increased 7 percentage points to 45%, while the share who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months fell by 6 percentage points to 43%
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months decreased by 2 percentage points, to 55%
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house decreased from last month, down 2 percentage points to 65%
  • Those who say it is a good time to sell a house increased 5 percentage points from last month to 38%
  •  The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track increased 8 percentage points from last month, to 39%
  • The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to get better in the next 12 months increased over last month to 44%

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