Homeowners expressed some fears and anxieties on housing and the general economy in the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey.
The survey’s biggest takeaway came in home prices, which Americans expect to decline by 1.1 percent during the next 12 months. For four months, now, respondents have been predicting price declines, and just 18 percent expect home prices to increase over the next year (according to Fannie, that’s the lowest number in the survey’s history).
Interestingly, in spite of consumer confidence, home prices have increased in the last four Case-Shiller reports, which has tracked home prices through July. CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, though, did fall in August.
On the flip side, respondents expect home rental prices to go up by 3.3 percent over the next 12 months, a 0.2 percent decline from August. In total, 43 percent of respondents believed that home rental prices will increase in the next 12 months, a likely response to the surge in rental properties in 2011.
Additional data included findings on homeownership. 68 percent of respondents said it is a good time to buy a home, though just 10 percent said it was a good time to sell.
A national study of homeowner attitudes and beliefs, Fannie sampled 1,002 respondents throughout September for the survey’s data. Fannie Chief Economist Doug Duncan said the results showed lingering doubts on the economy.
“Despite a decline in negative economic headlines during September — in contrast to their ubiquity during the debt ceiling debate in August — consumers continue to demonstrate very negative attitudes,” Duncan said.
Duncan added that some good news is that home prices will stay flat – and shouldn’t dip lower – until 2015. The main thing homeowners and prospective homeowners seem to be worried about is unemployment. In addition, 26 percent of respondents said in the survey that they are worried about the stability of their job, and 9 percent are unemployed – with one third of the nation worried about unemployment, it factors into the housing market and an estimated recovery. Another shocking statistic is new construction projects and starts are the lowest they’ve been since World War II,, and the population of the U.S. is two and a half times what it was then today.
“At the end of the day, we still aren’t really at a firm conclusion,” Duncan said. “I expect forecasts to keep switching from optimistic to pessimistic to optimistic to pessimistic. There will be a new forecast every day for the next few years, but it won’t vary much.”