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Consumers lukewarm about homes in a stalled economy: Fannie Mae
WASHINGTON (6/11/14)--Consumers continue to doubt that the economy is pointed in the right direction, while stagnant household income appears to be a roadblock for improvements in the housing marketing, according to data from Fannie Mae's May 2014 National Housing Survey ( MarketWatch June 9).

The percentage of people who believe the economy is trending downward remained at 57% last month, according to the survey. And the percentage of those who reported a significantly higher income than last year dropped four points to 21%.

Despite a more positive sentiment about the housing recovery of late, homebuyers and sellers have still largely been vacant from the market for this time of year.

"Consumers' lukewarm income expectations and reticence about the economy seem to be holding back housing demand," said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae chief economist and senior vice president ( MarketWatch ). "This year's spring and summer home buying season has gotten off to a slow start, even as mortgage rates have trended lower over the past two months."

Duncan added that national housing data reveal that the economy remains the chief concern for consumers who don't believe it's the right time to put their homes on the market.

While the housing market has showed some signs of improvement, 2014 looks like it will fall short of the sales rate achieved last year, Fannie Mae's chief economist said.

Additional survey highlights:
  • Those who believe home prices will rise in the next 12 months fell to 48%, while those who believe home prices will decrease jumped 7%;
  • Respondents who believe mortgage rates will increase in the 12 months dropped to 49%;
  • Those who believe it's a good time to buy a house fell to 68%, a slight decline, while those who believe it's a good time to sell a house rose to 43%, a new high for the survey;
  • Those who say the economy is improving increased 3% from last month to 38%; and
  • Those who expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next year fell slightly to 42%.

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