December 12th, 2010 9:23 AM by Lehel S.
Fannie Mae's Most Recent National Housing Survey Indicates Americans Uncertain Housing Market has Bottomed
Multiple Factors Indicate Ongoing Consumer Concern About Buying a Home
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fannie Mae's (FNMA/OTC) most recent nationwide housing survey finds that Americans are less certain that the housing market has bottomed, and continue to be wary of buying a home. The Third Quarter 2010 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled homeowners and renters between July 2010 and September 2010. Findings were compared to similar surveys conducted in June 2010, January 2010, and December 2003.
Fewer Americans think it is a good time to buy a home (68 percent, down 2 percentage points since June) and more Americans think it is a bad time to buy (29 percent, up 3 percentage points). Similar to the last survey, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe it is a bad time to sell a home (85 percent, up 2 percentage points since June).
"Consumer attitudes toward buying a home are more negative since last quarter," said Doug Duncan, Vice President and Chief Economist, Fannie Mae. "Our survey shows that Americans' declining optimism about housing and their personal finances is reinforcing increasingly realistic attitudes toward owning and renting."
One-quarter of respondents think that home prices will rise during the next 12 months (6 percentage points lower than in June), while 22 percent expect home prices to decline (4 percentage points higher). Americans continue to believe that rental prices will rise more than home prices and continue to believe that rental prices will go up rather than go down by a ratio of almost 4 to 1 (Americans expect rental prices to rise by 2.8 percent over the next year, compared to 3.6 percent in June).
The perception that buying a home is a safe investment continues to decline among Americans. Although 66 percent of Americans think buying a house is a safe investment, this is down 1 percentage point from June 2010, down 4 percentage points from January 2010, and down 17 percentage points from 2003.
For the first time, Delinquent borrowers are more likely to say they would rent rather than buy their next home — 50 percent would rent (up 10 percentage points since January) and 45 percent would buy (down 11 percentage points since January). More than half of Delinquent borrowers are very stressed about their debt, and, unlike most Americans, are falling into more debt — 29 percent of Delinquent borrowers have significantly increased their mortgage debt during the last year, almost three times the percentage of Mortgage borrowers who did so.
OVERVIEW OF KEY FINDINGS
Americans Less Certain That Housing Market Has Bottomed and Show Continued Uncertainty About the Future
The survey showed that consumers are less confident about buying a home (despite fewer Americans believing that home mortgage interest rates will go up). Consumers also are less confident about home prices going up, a home purchase being a safe investment, and their personal finances.
Demand for Rental Properties Likely to Increase — Delinquent Borrowers Now More Likely to Rent If They Move
Delinquent borrowers are increasingly cautious about owning, are very stressed about their debt, are making a great deal of financial sacrifice to own their home, and, unlike most Americans, have growing debt.
More Americans Know Someone Who Has Defaulted On a Mortgage; More Mortgage Borrowers Believe Their Lender Would Pursue Other Assets If They Defaulted
The survey found that the incidence of knowing a defaulter is spreading among Americans, especially among those who have a mortgage.
Economic and Housing Attitudes Among Minority Respondents
The survey continued to show a mix of optimism and concern among African-Americans and Hispanics regarding their personal financial situation and their ability to obtain a mortgage.
From July 5, 2010 — October 4, 2010, 3,417 telephone interviews were conducted with Americans aged 18 and older to assess their confidence in homeownership as an investment, the current state of their household finances, views on the U.S. housing finance system, and overall confidence in the economy.
This included a random sample of 3,015 members of the General Population, including 834 Outright Homeowners, 1,156 Mortgage borrowers, and 894 Renters. Out of the 1,156 Mortgage borrowers, 305 identified themselves as Underwater borrowers (those who report owing at least 5 percent more on their mortgage than their home is worth). The overall margin of error for the general population sample is +/- 1.78 percent and larger for sub-groups.
An additional oversample of 402 random national Delinquent borrowers also was polled. The margin of error for the Delinquent borrower oversample is +/- 4.89 percent and larger for sub-groups. Delinquency was defined as not having made a mortgage payment in the past 60 or more days.
Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.
For more information about the survey, click here.