New Construction Boom Reined In By Consumer Caution

Fannie Mae’s July 2014 National Housing Survey takes a conservative view of the current home building boom. Mixed attitudes toward the housing market drive consumer caution toward buying new homes, although an increasingly positive personal financial outlook may cause those attitudes to shift throughout the third quarter of 2014.

The phone survey is conducted on a monthly basis, and polls an average of 1,000 Americans on their view of current housing market conditions. Respondents are asked to weigh in on the topics of “owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, home ownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence.”

Of those surveyed, 67% of Americans felt it is a good time to buy a house, but only 43% felt it was a good time to sell. The closing gape between these percentages indicates that the supply and demand in the market seem to be evening out. 42% overall felt that home prices would increase in the coming 12 months 54% thought that Americans will see an increase in mortgage rates, with fully 50% responding that it would be difficult for them to qualify for a mortgage. 43 % of those surveyed said they felt their personal financial situation was likely to improve in the next 12 months, and this optimism is predicted to positively impact home ownership attitudes in the next year.

Of July’s survey results, Fannie Mas senior vice president and chief economist Doug Duncan noted a distinct slowdown, saying that “[the] continued cautious sentiment expressed across the range of consumer indicators this month gives weight to our view that the first phase of the housing recovery is decelerating, and 2014 will be a year of mixed housing outcomes with home prices rising more slowly and home sales falling slightly.”

However, Duncan added that the long-term numbers are likely to improve, because “[r]ecent data indicating the creation of more than 200,000 jobs over each of the last six months, combined with this month’s improvement in the share of consumers reporting significantly higher household income than a year ago, does provide some reason for optimism. If these trends continue, they could lead to some upside in housing in 2015.”

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