March 8th, 2011 8:32 AM by Lehel S.
The number of Americans who believe that buying a home is a safe investment continues to fall, according to a new survey on housing attitudes from Fannie Mae.
Just 64% of respondents said they believe a home is a safe investment, down from 70% one year ago and 83% in December 2003.
The survey found that more Americans say it’s a bad time to sell a house, and fewer Americans say it’s a good time to buy. Still, the share of respondents who believe home prices will stay flat or increase over the next year (78%) posted a slight increase from one year ago (73%).
“We’re looking for a little pickup in 2011 over 2010, but nothing that would say the housing market is rebounding,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. If oil prices climb higher, “that could easily temper whatever bits of optimism exist,” he said.
Fannie’s national housing survey included other highlights:
The economy: The survey found that Americans’ gloomy views on the economy were essentially unchanged from one year ago, with almost two-thirds saying that the economy is on the wrong track.
While 19% of people said their income had increased significantly in the past year, some 34% said that expenses had increased significantly. “That to me is a signal of the difficulty that the economy has in growing robustly,” said Duncan.
Mortgages: Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they thought it would be harder to get a mortgage in the future, up from just over two-thirds one year ago.
Meanwhile, the number of delinquent borrowers that said they have thought about defaulting on their mortgage fell slightly, to 31% from 39% one year ago; the number that said they had “seriously considered” defaulting fell to 19% from 25%.
The survey consisted of 3,400 phone interviews between Oct. 15 and Dec. 20 and was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland.