Concerns about economy drive home selling attitudes lower

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Consumer attitudes toward the home selling environment stumbled last month despite positive home price change expectations, according to results from Fannie Mae's July 2015 National Housing Survey™ (NHS).

Among those surveyed, the share of consumers who believe now is a good time to sell a home fell 7 percentage points to 45 percent, while those who believe it is a good time to buy dropped to 61 percent -- an all-time survey low.

The dip comes as more consumers reported a negative outlook regarding personal finances and the direction of the economy. The share of consumers saying the economy is on the wrong track rose by 3 percentage points to 54 percent in July. Additionally, those who expect their personal financial situation to improve over the next year fell to 44 percent, while those reporting a significantly lower income compared to 12 months ago increased to 15 percent -- marking the first change in this indicator in three months.

"Consumer attitudes toward housing slid back this month," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "The share of consumers who think it's a good time to sell a home posted a sizable decrease from a record high in the prior month, even as home price change expectations strengthened. Deteriorating consumer assessments of income growth over the past year as well as increased caution around the direction of the economy and personal financial expectations may be contributing to the pullback in sentiment. Still, it is premature to read too much into this month's results as the survey was taken around the time of increased global turmoil, including Greece's potential default and China's stock market plunge, which has receded somewhat. Most of our key indicators are as strong or stronger than they were at this time last year, which is indicative of an improving housing market this year."

Some highlights from the July survey:

Homeownership and Renting

The Economy and Household Finances

The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey™ polled 1,000 Americans via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence.

Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts (findings are compared to the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). To reflect the growing share of households with a cell phone but no landline, the National Housing Survey has increased its cell phone dialing rate to 60 percent as of October 2014. Fannie Mae conducts this survey and shares monthly and quarterly results so that we may help industry partners and market participants target our collective efforts to stabilize the housing market in the near-term, and provide support in the future.

For detailed findings from the July 2015 survey, as well as technical notes on survey methodology and questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Fannie Mae Monthly National Housing Survey page on fanniemae.com. Also available on the site are in-depth topic analyses, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies. The July 2015 National Housing Survey was conducted between July 1, 2015 and July 23, 2015. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.

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