The housing slowdown may have been accompanied by an inability for potential homeowners to obtain mortgages, but the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey shows movement on the mortgage consumption-front.
For the month of November, 51% of survey respondents said it would now be easier to obtain a mortgage. This larger vote of confidence suggests tighter lending standards may be easing enough to grant more credit access.
Overall confidence in housing is up somewhat, with 14% of those interviewed believing home prices will go up in the next 12 months, a four-percentage point hike from the previous month. Twenty-three percent of survey respondents believe it's a good time to sell a home, up 5-percentage points from October.
This is the highest rating of confidence since the survey's inception more than a year earlier, the GSE said. In addition, 67% of the survey respondents said they would buy if they had to move in the near future.
The Fannie Mae November survey, which is the result of 1,001 interviews with Americans, concluded that consumer attitudes towards the economy and housing market are improving.
Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae, noted that 11 of the national housing survey indicators evaluated by Fannie Mae are "at or near their two-and-a-half-year highs."
About 44% of Americans believe the economy is now on the right track, and only 50% say it's on the wrong track, which is 25-percentage point decline over the past year. The small gap between those two indicators suggests more improvement in overall economic confidence.
The number of survey respondents who foresee an increase in mortgage rates jumped 4 percentage points to 41%.
Respondents expecting home prices to fall over the next year rose by 4 percentage points to 14% over the previous month, while the number who expect home prices to go up over the next 12 months edged up to 37%.
Americans also seem more confident in their own financial situations, but remain worried the fiscal cliff will put them in worse shape next year. 18%, up 5 percentage points, felt that their personal financial situation would get worse over the next 12 months.
56% of respondents expect their household expenses to remain the same when compared to a year earlier.