Is Housing Catching a Spring Chill?

Housing Market News

Is Housing Catching a Spring Chill?

Spring is a bad time for housing to catch a chill, but that’s the latest diagnosis from Fannie Mae’s monthly consumer survey. Attitudes toward homeownership hit a low in March, and more people think the economy is on the wrong track.

The number of people who would buy a house if they moved fell from 65 percent to 60 percent, the smallest share since the survey began in June 2010, Fannie found. On the plus side, more people think now is a good time to sell.

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Fewer people think the economy is on the right track and more think the economy is on the wrong track, the survey found. And fewer respondents said their household income was “significantly higher” than it was a year ago. At the same time, expenses are going up for more people, the survey found.

Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan blames the pessimism on lackluster income growth and says attitudes could change as the job market improves. Meanwhile, “the wait for housing expansion continues.”

Until then, first-time buyers in particular are getting squeezed.

“Incomes haven’t kept up with house price growth, which has made the post-boom market challenging, particularly for first-time buyers,” Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson said. “Tight mortgage credit is adding to those challenges.”

The findings are based on a Fannie Mae phone survey of 1,000 people March 1-23.

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