Consumers’ attitudes stabilize in February

Americans’ concerns about key economic and housing issues are beginning to subside, according to results from Fannie Mae’s February 2012 National Housing Survey. Consumers’ attitudes have stabilized across most indicators – including personal finances, housing, and employment – demonstrating their sense that downside risks have abated somewhat compared with late summer and fall of 2011.

Highlights of the survey include:
• The rise in confidence in the economy’s direction continued in February, with 35 percent responding that they think the economy is on the right track, a 5 percentage point increase from January. The percentage of respondents who say the economy is on the wrong track dropped to 57 percent, a decline of 6 percentage points.
• On average, Americans expect home prices to increase by 0.8 percent over the next 12 months (down slightly since last month).
• Twenty-eight percent of respondents expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months (consistent with last month), while 15 percent say they expect home prices to decline (down 1 percentage point since last month). Fifty-three percent say prices will stay the same.
• The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell rose by 3 percentage points to 13 percent, the highest level in more than a year, while the percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to buy dropped 1 percentage point to 70 percent this month.
• Sixty-five percent of respondents say they would buy their next home if they were going to move, up 1 percentage point since last month, while 29 percent say they would rent, down 1 percentage point versus last month.