Consumer attitudes toward housing and the economy brightened modestly in September, starting the fall season off on a positive note after a tumultuous summer. According to results from Fannie Mae's September National Housing Survey, Americans' optimism about the housing market recovered last month following declines in both July and August, with the share of respondents saying now is a good time to buy a home jumping 4 percentage points to 68 percent. The share of consumers saying they would purchase a home if they were going to move also picked up, increasing to 66 percent after August's three-point drop.
Meanwhile, home price expectations saw a slight improvement: 45 percent of respondents expect prices to rise in the next year, up from 42 percent in August and July, with the average price change expectation edging up to 2.2 percent. While admitting that it might be too late to save home sales from posting a decline this year, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, Doug Duncan, said the upward trend in housing sentiment suggests a broad-based, modest recovery is on track to resume in 2015.
Annual home price appreciation backed off a full percentage point in August compared to July, with further declines expected ahead. Including distressed sales, home prices nationwide rose 6.4 percent year-over-year in August, according to the latest report from CoreLogic. August's increase came in below July's rate of appreciation, which clocked in at 7.4 percent in CoreLogic's initial report for the month. As annual returns continue to moderate after peaking last fall, CoreLogic’s chief economist, Mark Fleming, says the trend is quote -- a welcomed sign of more balanced real estate markets and less pressure on affordability for potential home buyers in the near future.