54% of Americans See Ease in Attaining Home Mortgage

Americans’ attitudes about the ease in which they could secure a home mortgage in June matches the all-time high at 54%, the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey finds.

However, Americans also believe mortgage rates will increase in the coming year. The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months increased six percentage points to 55% in June, following a gradual decrease since February.

More Americans also believe it is a better time to buy than sell. Those who say it is a good time to buy a house rose to 70%, and those who say it is a good time to sell fell to 40%.

The June 2014 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between June 1 and June 21, with most of the data being collected during the first two weeks of that period.

On average, consumers’ 12-month home price change expectation remained in positive territory in June at 2.4%, but dipped slightly from the previous few months, likely in response to a lackluster housing picture in the first half of the year.

The share of respondents who say the economy is on the wrong track fell by 3 percentage points from last month to 54%, and the percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next 12 months ticked up to 43%.

While consumers appear positive overall, some survey and market indicators reflect a more subdued housing market, underscoring that the recovery continues but is not yet robust, Fannie Mae says.

“Since we began collecting monthly National Housing Survey data in June 2010, we’ve seen substantial progress in consumer home price expectations and other key attitudinal measures as the housing recovery gained its footing,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, in the study. “Still, we do not expect to see normal levels of new residential construction, in the region of 1.6 million new housing units per year, before the end of 2016, our original projection. Such a feat would require a pace of growth in housing starts not seen in decades.”

The share of employed consumers who expressed concerns about losing their job dropped to an all-time survey low in June, which may signal a surge in homebuyers entering the purchase market in 2014.

“[This would help] offset some of the weakness in sales activity,” Duncan says, noting that Fannie Mae expects an annual decline in existing home sales due to weak volume in the first four months of the year. 

The Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled 1,000 Americans via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.

Access the the June 2014 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey here

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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