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Survey Reveals Mixed Expectations for Home Prices, Credit Access

A recently launched survey from ""New York's Federal Reserve Bank"":http://newyorkfed.org/index.html shows consumer expectations for the next year remaining fairly flat in December.

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The New York Fed released on Monday its first monthly ""Survey of Consumer Expectations"":http://newyorkfed.org/microeconomics/sce/ (SCE), an Internet-based survey of a rotating panel of approximately 1,200 household heads. Topics addressed in the survey include inflation, prices, the labor market, and household finance.

According to the December survey, inflation expectations for the year were little changed from the past several months, with consumers expecting a median inflation rate of 3.14 percent over the year and a rate of 3.30 percent over the next three years.

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The median expected rate of house price growth was 3.9 percent, a slip from November's prediction of 4.5 percent.

In terms of household finances, the median one-year-ahead prediction for income growth was down slightly to 2.0 percent, while spending growth expectations were up to 4.7 percent.

Despite the expected increase in expenses, the probability of consumers being unable to make a minimum debt payment at any point in the next three months slipped nearly a full percentage point, falling to 14.9 percent.

Consumers were slightly more optimistic about credit access, with 19.3 percent saying credit will be easier to obtain in the next year. Reflecting on 2013, 17.1 percent of respondents said credit grew more accessible than the year before, while 47.8 percent said conditions became tighter.

Expectations for moving sometime in the next year remained flat at around 20 percent; there was no specification for whether respondents plan to move into a house or an apartment.

For the labor market, hopes were slightly lower than in November, with median expected earnings growth falling slightly to 1.81 percent. About 39 percent of those surveyed expect to leave their job in the coming year--either voluntarily or involuntarily--and about 45.9 percent said they expect they could find a new position in the next three months if they left their job today.

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