Shop Around for a Mortgage

More than a third of home buyers say they did not shop around before selecting their mortgage lender, according to new findings from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey. That may mean they’re missing out in thousands of dollars in savings.

Real estate professionals, with family and friends, may be among the most influential sources of advice regarding lender selection, notes Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, in a new column at Fannie Mae.

We recommend a local lender knowledgeable about the area and offers a variety of loans should be one source. The agent needs to help buyers get a lender with the right type of loan that best fits them and the subject home.

Source: Fannie Mae

More Americans Say It’s a Good Time to Sell

An improving financial picture prompted more consumers to say that they believe now is a good time to sell a home, according to Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index, which capped off its strongest year so far.

“Consumers ended the year on an improved note with regard to their income, job security, and overall economic outlook,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “Brightening economic prospects, if sustained, should stimulate demand for home ownership. However, continuing upward pressure on rental prices and constrained housing supply, particularly for starter homes, may mean prospective first-time home buyers could face affordability constraints.”

Source: Fannie Mae

Survey: More Americans ‘Ready to Sell their Home’

More Americans are growing optimistic about home-price appreciation and selling, according to Fannie Mae’s October 2014 National Housing Survey of 1,000 adults.

Home-price expectations rose significantly in the latest survey, largely reversing a dip over the past four months, says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. Consumers who say now is a good time to sell a home reached another survey high this month.

“The narrowing gap between home buying and home selling sentiment may foreshadow increased housing inventory levels and a better balance of housing supply and demand,” Duncan says. “These results may help drive a healthier housing market in 2015.”

Duncan says the latest survey showed consumers are growing more optimistic about the housing market “in the face of broader improvement in economic sentiment. The share of consumers who expect their personal finances to get better is near its highest level since the survey’s inception, those expecting their finances to get worse reached a survey low.”

Additional highlights from the survey at source:  Fannie Mae

Consumer Confidence in Housing Hot This Spring

Consumer attitudes are reflecting greater optimism in the housing market heading into real estate’s traditionally strong spring selling season, according to Fannie Mae’s March 2014 National Housing Survey.

In the poll of 1,000 people, 38 percent say it’s a good time to sell a home, up from 26 percent a year ago. The poll also shows that 69 percent of those surveyed say it’s a good time to buy, and 52 percent say it’s easier today to get financing for a home.

Americans feel more confident about their personal finances: An all-time survey high of 40 percent say their personal financial situation has improved during the past year.

“The housing recovery continues to proceed in fits and starts,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “Rising mortgage rates and a lack of supply have dampened housing market momentum. However, we see several positive signs going into this year’s spring home-buying season, compared with last year. For example, consumers are less pessimistic about their personal finances and more optimistic about the current selling environment and their ability to get a mortgage. Still, those who are pessimistic about buying or selling a home today tend to point to economic conditions as the primary issue, and most consumers continue to say the economy is on the wrong track. Looking forward, we expect to see a pickup in economic growth later in the year, and this may boost the confidence of prospective buyers and sellers.”

Source: Fannie Mae

Consumers Positive About Access to Mortgage Credit

More Americans now believe it would be easy for them to get a mortgage, according to Fannie Mae’s January 2014 National Housing Survey results. Consumer attitudes regarding the ease of getting a mortgage climbed 2 percentage points to an all-time survey high of 52 percent, while those who think it would be difficult dropped 3 points to 45 percent. This indicates that consumers perceive that mortgage credit is more accessible. Even though this month’s survey shows a more moderate expectation for home price gains within the next 12 months, the view that mortgage credit is more available may allow for continued but measured improvement in the housing recovery.

Consumer attitudes toward the economy also improved in January despite downbeat jobs data for the past two months. The share of consumers who believe the economy is on the right track climbed 8 percentage points to 39 percent, while the share who believe it’s on the wrong track declined to 54 percent. Additionally, the share who expect their personal financial situation to improve in the next year increased to 44 percent, continuing an upward trend since November 2013.

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Gov’t Shutdown Proved ‘Costly to Taxpayers’

The shutdown resulted in 6.6 million days of lost work, the report said. Other effects from the shutdown also include missed fees from interest due on late payments, among other items.  The government shutdown also has been blamed on the fall of consumer and business confidence.

“Millions of Americans were impacted by the shutdown, due to furloughs of federal employees, reduced services for the public and delays in payments to federal grantees, states, localities, contractors and individuals,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, budget director.

report by Standard & Poor’s estimated the shutdown cost the U.S. economy $24 billion in losses and reduced fourth-quarter growth from 3 percent to 2.4 percent.

Unless Congress passes a budget or provides an alternative for financing the government, a second shutdown may loom at the beginning of 2014.

Source: “White House Puts Price on Government Shutdown,” The New York Times (Nov. 8, 2013)

Optimism Builds in the “Housing Market”

Several recent indicators for the real estate industry are pointing to a market that is on the mend and entering recovery mode. 

Housing experts’ predictions for the new year tend to center around a market stabilizing before entering a gradual, albeit very slow, recovery. However, the tone is more upbeat than it has been in years for the housing market. This reflects current trends in the Placerville, El Dorado County, CA., regions.

Here are a few of the signs that are showing the market moving in a more positive direction: 

Home sales: Existing home sales are expected to increase 12 percent this year, following a 2 percent jump last year, Moody’s Analytics predicts. The signs are already showing: In November, pending home sales — a gauge for future home buying — reached its highest level in 19 months, the National Association of REALTORS® reported. (Read more.)

Consumer confidence: With mortgage rates at record lows and housing affordability high, about 71 percent of Americans say now is a good time to purchase a home. Also, more Americans are optimistic that home prices will rise over the next year — about 26 percent say prices will rise in 2012, an increase of 4 percent over the last survey, according to Fannie Mae’s December National Housing Survey

More information at sources: “Housing Outlook Is More Upbeat,” USA Today (Jan. 15, 2012) and “Consumers More Confident, Survey Says,” Deseret News (Utah) (Jan. 16, 2012)

“Americans still aspire to be homeowners”

Americans—both current homeowners and renters—still strongly aspire to own a home and to maintain homeownership, despite a slow recovering housing market, according to a study released by Fannie Mae.  However, demographic trends combined with financial caution among consumers are contributing to an increased willingness to rent. 

More than half (51 percent) of current homeowners and renters say that the housing crisis has not affected their overall willingness to buy a home, according to the study. However, while homeownership aspirations are high for the long-term, Americans have near-term doubts about buying.

Overall, according to Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey third quarter results, one-third of Americans (33 percent) would be more likely to rent their next home than buy, up from 30 percent in January 2010. Among renters, 59 percent said they would continue to rent in their next move, compared with 54 percent in January 2010.

More information at: http://fanniemae.com/newsreleases/2010/5247.jhtml;jsessionid=44W3AER04RFVDJ2FQSHSFGQ

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