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Consumers Expect Declining Home Prices, Rising Rents

The percentage of Americans who feel it is a good time to buy a house increased from 66 percent to 69 percent while only 11 percent feel it is a good time to sell, unchanged from May.

If the results of a monthly national consumer survey accurately portray their attitudes, Americans appear to have increasingly realistic expectations of the housing market. Data from the June survey indicate that Americans are resigned to lower house prices and higher rents and have come to expect rock bottom interest rates.

Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polls 1,000 home owners and renters each month to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, mortgage rates, homeownership distress, household finances and overall consumer confidence then compares the results to answers to the same survey conducted monthly since June 2010.

Respondents' expectations regarding home prices have plummeted since the May survey. At that point Americans expected home prices to increase an average of 0.7 percent over the next 12 months. In the June survey the expectation was for a 0.5 percent decline. This is only the second time in the 13 months of the survey that respondents projected a decline in prices. 

In August the average expected price change was less than -0.01 percent. The number of Americans who expect prices to rise dropped 6 points to 22 percent while there was a 6 point rise in the numbers who expect it to drop, now 25 percent. Forty-nine percent anticipate no change, identical to May.

Even though curent market is only slightly above record lows, 48 percent of respondents indicated they expect no change in mortgage rates over the next 12 months, up from 40 percent in May.  Eight percent expect further declines while 38 percent think rates will increase compared to 47 percent a month earlier.

The good-time-to-buy attitude has varied little over the 13 months the survey has been conducted, ranging from 65 percent to 71 percent. The good-time-to-sell has been relatively more volatile, ranging between 8 to 15 percent.

Respondents expect that rents will appreciate an average of 3.9 percent over the next year, up from 3.6 percent in May. Only a smattering of those polled, 6 percent, expect rents to decrease while there is an almost even split - 44 to 45 percent - in those who expect rents to increase vs. those who expect them to stay the same.

– Courtesy of Mortgage News Daily, Jann Swanson

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December 6, 2019, 12:41 pm PDT

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