By Tim McLaughlin, Sr. Vice President, Weichert Financial
According to the results of Fannie Mae’s April 2012 National Housing Survey, Americans’ attitudes about homeownership, the economy and personal finances “continue to move incrementally in a positive direction.”
“This month’s survey shows a continued gradual improvement in consumer sentiment and outlook for home prices,” says Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae. “After flat-lining at depressed levels for over a year, a growing share of consumers indicate that it is a good time to sell, suggesting rising optimism for the housing market and for prospective purchasers.”
On average, Americans expect home prices to increase 1.3% over the next year, and the percentage of Americans who say it is a good time to sell their home continued to rise to 15% in April (up from low, flat levels during 2011). In turn, confidence in the economy’s direction rose to a survey all-time high in April, hitting 37%.
Another positive trend, according to Fannie Mae, is the increased share of those who reported their income as “significantly higher” from 12 months ago, which is now at the highest level recorded over the past year and seven percentage points higher than those who reported income as “significantly lower.”
WFIF Economic team suggest that early reports show that the critical spring home buying season has gotten off to its best start in five years. “Sales of new single-family homes totaled 83,000 units during the first quarter, up 16 percent from a year ago, while sales of existing single-family homes rose 7.2 percent, marking the best combined pace for first quarter home sales since 2007. The rise in existing home sales has generated a little excitement, as news is spreading that homes sold outside the foreclosure process are often receiving multiple bids and selling above the asking price.”
“The first quarter is typically the slowest quarter of the year, with March being the only busy month. Inventories of existing homes have fallen to just a 6.3-months’ supply, and the inventory of unsold vacant homes has fallen by 353,000 units over the past year. Inventories of new homes continue to decline and are now at a paltry 144,000 units nationwide. Only about one-third of those homes are actually completed. With inventories dwindling, home prices have improved a bit.”