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November Survey Shows Consumer Sentiment Stabilizing

Results from ""Fannie Mae's"":www.fanniemae.com/ November National Housing Survey revealed that consumer sentiment is not rising alongside recent positive economic news. Fannie's ""study"":http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/research-and-analysis/housing-monthly.html showed that most borrowers are adopting a ""wait and see"" approach to 2012, despite accompanying findings that indicated consumers anticipate a future rise in home pricing for the first time in six months.


Generally, Fannie's survey demonstrated that consumer sentiment is stabilizing, and November numbers show an incremental improvement in the strongly negative feelings on the housing market seen over the summer. Fannie considers the November results ""in line"" with its Economics & Mortgage Market Group's forecast of temporary economic advances for the third and fourth quarters of this year, setting the scene for a slow growth pattern in 2012.

Significant highlights from Fannie's survey included respondents' predictions on home prices, with 22 percent stating that they expect pricing to rise during the coming year. However, an equal number or participants took the opposite stance, and 22 percent of those surveyed are calling for a drop in home prices. The majority, 53 percent, anticipate no change in pricing, showing a 2 percent decline off of October's numbers.

Thirty-three percent of those responding are confident that mortgage rates will go up in 2012, representing a decline of 3 percent from October's survey. A large portion of those polled, 68 percent, said it's a ""good"" time to purchase property, while only 10 percent felt it's a ""good"" time to sell; both findings are similar to numbers recorded in October.

Most of those Fannie surveyed believe that rental pricing will increase by an estimated 3.2 percent during 2012, with 41 percent of respondents predicting an uptick. Only 6 percent anticipate a drop in rental prices, which reveals no change since last month.

The percentage of Americans who say they will buy their next home declined by 3 percent month-to-month, with 63 percent stating a desire to purchase instead of rent. Thirty-two percent felt renting their future home was likely.

When asked about the broader economic picture in the U.S., 75 percent of those surveyed feel its ""off on the wrong track,"" and another 18 percent said they expect their personal financial situation to decrease in stability during 2012. Sixty-six percent of respondents stated that their income is about the same as it was the previous months, and 54 percent reported that their household expenses remain static.

Speaking out on the results from November, Fannie's vice president and chief economist, Doug Duncan, said, ""Though their home price expectations have become slightly positive, consumers remain concerned about the direction of the economy and continue to view their household finances as being relatively flat.""

Duncan went on to note, ""Most Americans expect no improvement in their personal financial situation in the next 12 months and will likely remain wary about undertaking the significant financial obligation associated with homeownership until their view of their income, expenses, and job security heads in a more positive direction.""

About Author: Abby Gregory


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