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Fannie Mae: Homebuyers, mortgage lenders getting excited about 2015 prospects

More consumers say now is a good time to buy

A new boost in consumer optimism is spilling over into housing, as more people believe now is a good time to buy a home.  

Fannie Mae’s January 2015 National Housing Survey reported that the share of respondents who said their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago grew 4 percentage points to 29%, and the share expecting their personal financial situation to improve over the net year increased to 48%, both all-time survey highs.

As a result, the share of people who said now is a good time to buy a home increased 3 percentage points to 67% after dropping in December.

Meanwhile, the share of people saying they would buy rather than rent if they were to move ticked up 5 percentage points to 66%, marking the first increase since September 2014.

“Consumers are as positive about their personal finances at the start of 2015 as they have been since we launched the National Housing Survey in 2010, and this optimism seems to be spilling over into housing market attitudes,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

“Consumers are more optimistic about the environment both for buying and for selling a home today, and the share who plan to own on their next move has jumped back up, reversing a three-month trend toward renting,” said Duncan.

Plus, the positive attitude about the housing market even spans to Lenders. According to Fannie Mae’s recent Lender Sentiment Survey, lenders think the market is not only doing well, but should see drastic growth as we enter into the spring home-buying season. Approximately 88% of lenders surveyed are looking to grow their mortgage origination business.      

“In 2013, it was all about volume, and mortgages beefed up a lot through servicing and refinancing. In 2014, it was about purchases and which lenders would be in this long term. A lot of people did pretty well despite the doom and gloom going into 2014,” said Mat Ishbia, president and CEO at United Wholesale Mortgage.   

“Now in 2015, the deck has cleared, and people have started to focus on how to grow their business. We expect this year to be our best year in terms of overall business and are really bullish on the market this year,” Ishbia continued.

Other survey highlights include:

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation rose to 2.5%.
  • The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months rose to 49%. The share who say home prices will go down remained constant at 8%.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months decreased by 3 percentage points to 45%.
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house increased to 67%. Those who say it is a good time to sell increased to 44 percent—tying an all-time survey high.
  • The average 12-month rental price change expectation decreased to 3.6%.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect home rental prices to go up in the next 12 months fell slightly to 52%.
  • The share of respondents who think it would be easy to get a home mortgage today fell to 50%, while the share saying it would be difficult to get a mortgage rose 3 percentage points to 47%.
  • The share who say they would buy if they were going to move rose to 66%, while the share who would rent decreased 5 percentage points to 29%.

“Overall, these are good signs to start off 2015 and are consistent with our expectation that strengthening employment and economic activity will boost the speed of the housing recovery,” Fannie Mae said. 

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