Consumer attitudes are reflecting greater optimism in the housing market heading into real estate's traditionally strong spring selling season, according to Fannie Mae's March 2014 National Housing Survey.
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In the poll of 1,000 people, 38 percent say it's a good time to sell a home, up from 26 percent a year ago. The poll also shows that 69 percent of those surveyed say it's a good time to buy, and 52 percent say it's easier today to get financing for a home.
Americans also feel more confident about their personal finances: An all-time survey high of 40 percent say their personal financial situation has improved during the past year.
"The housing recovery continues to proceed in fits and starts," says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist.
"Rising mortgage rates and a lack of supply have dampened housing market momentum. 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."
Still, those who are pessimistic about buying or selling a home today tend to point to economic conditions as the primary issue, explains Duncan. For this reason, he says that most consumers continue to say the economy is on the wrong track. Looking forward, Fannie Mae expects to see a pickup in economic growth later in the year, something which may boost the confidence of prospective buyers and sellers.
However, consumers' home-price expectations softened a bit in the latest survey. The average 12-month home-price-change expectation fell from last month, reaching 2.7 percent, the survey shows. Also, slightly fewer respondents — 48 percent — said they thought home prices would rise in the next 12 months.