American optimism trends higher as home buying season starts
As the market enters the spring homebuying season, more homeowners are beginning to think now is a good time to sell a home, in addition to it being easier to get a mortgage, a government agency said.
According the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, the share of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home escalated to 38% in March, up from 26% for the same period a year ago.
Meanwhile, 52% of people believe it is easy to get a mortgage today, compared to 47% a year ago, matching the all-time survey high.
Americans are also beginning to feel more confident about their financial situation, with the percentage of people who expect their financial situation to worsen during the next 12 months dropping from 21% in 2013 to 12% in March.
On top of this, the share of people who say their personal financial situation improved during the past year reached an all-time survey high of 40%.
“The housing recovery continues to proceed in fits and starts. Rising mortgage rates and a lack of supply have dampened housing market momentum,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.
“However, we see several positive signs going into this year’s spring home buying season, compared with last year. For example, consumers are less pessimistic about their personal finances, and more optimistic about the current selling environment and their ability to get a mortgage,” Duncan said.
As noted in the Monday Morning Cup of Coffee, between reports from homebuilders, mortgage insurers and brokers, it looks like demand from buyers in the residential housing market is picking up, opening the door for broader acceleration as opposed to the slow growth that has been pulling the economy.
“Still, those who are pessimistic about buying or selling a home today tend to point to economic conditions as the primary issue, and most consumers continue to say the economy is on the wrong track,” Duncan said.
In addition, the percentage of respondents who say home prices will improve in the next 12 months declined a bit to 48%, while the amount of people who say home process will go decrease dropped to 5%: an all-time survey low.
“Looking forward, we expect to see a pickup in economic growth later in the year, and this may boost the confidence of prospective buyers and sellers,” Duncan added.
Overall, more people are starting to think the economy is improving, with the share of respondents saying it is on the right track decreasing 2 percentage points from 33% last month.