More and more it’s easy to see that Americans will never grow tired of homeownership.
Sure, many disagree. We’ll continue to see reports about how renting makes more financial sense in some areas. And of course, foreclosure scars will remain intact for some time.
But all in all, American’s outlook on housing and the economy remains positive.
While there’s been a bit of volatility in Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey over the last few months, much of what they track in consumer attitudes points to continued positive news on the housing recovery front. For example, the share of people who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased 7 percentage points to 50%, and the share who say home prices will stay the same decreased by 7 percentage points to 38%.
Those who consider now a good time to buy a home increased 3 percentage points to 68%. However, the share who say they would buy if they were going to move fell 4 percentage points to 66%, and those who say they would rent increased to 30%. This may have a lot to do with increasing interest rates and rising home prices, which no doubt have priced out some buyers and will continue to do so.
As far as the overall economy and personal financial situations of Americans go, attitudes are a bit mixed. Those who say the economy is on the right track decreased 4 percentage points from last month to 35%.
Those who expect their personal financial situation to get better in the next 12 months decreased slightly from the previous month to 43%, and the share of those who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago increased 2 percentage points to 24%.
No doubt, Americans still believe that housing is on the upswing. The challenges this coming year will remain in affordability for many first-time buyers – slightly higher interest rates and increased values in some areas will create hurdles.
But the important takeaway here is that people in general are not caving to a negative mindset, which can be a factor in a transaction that’s already so highly personal and emotional. That’s why you see organizations like Fannie Mae and the Conference Board tracking consumer sentiment.
Attitudes matter. And right now, we seem to be at an important balancing point where most people are feeling positive. A good thing!