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Americans’ Economic Optimism Spills Over into Housing

rowofhomesAfter suffering a setback in December, American attitudes toward the housing market recovered last month, with more consumers saying it is good time to get off the sidelines.

Sixty-seven percent of American adults responding to Fannie Mae's January National Housing Survey said now is a good time to buy a home, the company reported Monday, while 44 percent said now is a good time to sell. Both figures are up from December, when positive responses were at 64 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae, said the country's current economic momentum played a role in January's more upbeat views of the housing market.

"Consumers are as positive about their personal finances at the start of 2015 as they have been since we launched the National Housing Survey in 2010, and this optimism seems to be spilling over into housing market attitudes," Duncan said. "These results are in line with lender optimism about future growth in their mortgage origination business, as shown in our Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey."

The share of respondents in Fannie Mae's survey who said their household income is "significantly higher" than it was a year ago climbed 4 percentage points to a survey high of 29 percent, the company reported. Looking ahead, 48 percent said they expect their finances to improve in the next year, also a survey high.

Overall, 44 percent of Americans said they believe the economy is on the right track, an increase of 3 percentage points and only a few points less than those saying the economy is headed the wrong way (49 percent).

That optimism spurred 66 percent of those surveyed to say they would buy a home if they had to move, a jump from 61 percent at the end of 2015. The share of those who would rent, meanwhile, slipped after three months of gains, falling to 29 percent.

"Overall, these are good signs to start off 2015 and are consistent with our expectation that strengthening employment and economic activity will boost the speed of the housing recovery," Duncan said.

About Author: Tory Barringer

Tory Barringer began his journalism career in early 2011, working as a writer for the University of Texas at Arlington's student newspaper before joining the DS News team in 2012. In addition to contributing to DSNews.com, he is also the online editor for DS News' sister publication, MReport, which focuses on mortgage banking news.
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