WASHINGTON (12/9/14)--Despite the widespread belief among economists that the Federal Reserve will begin hiking short-term interest rates next year, fewer consumers expect mortgage rates to rise in the next 12 months, according to Fannie Mae's November 2014 National Housing Survey (Housingwire.com Dec. 8).
The share of Americans who believe rates will climb dropped three percentage points to 45% for the month, continuing the year's trend of gradual declines in the number. This compares with the year-ago number of 59% of respondents saying mortgage rates would climb.
Economists believe, however, that the Fed will hike interest rates near the halfway point of 2015.
Meanwhile, the gap between those who believe it's a good time to buy and those who believe it's a good time to sell continues to widen.
Nearly 70% of consumers said they believe the time is right to buy a home, a 3% jump from the prior month, while 39% said it's a good time to sell, which is a 5% drop from the prior month's number.
"November's National Housing Survey results support the 2014 trend of gradual, but often sporadic and unspectacular improvement across a range of indicators measuring consumer attitude toward housing--mirroring the uneven recovery in housing activity this year," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president/chief economist for Fannie Mae (Housingwire.com).
Duncan said that he expects attitudes toward the housing market to improve as unemployment continues to fall and income rises. But any sustained improvement in sentiment will remain elusive until any "meaningful" gains in household income occur, he added.
Additional highlights from the November housing survey: