Consumer confidence in housing market suffering amid political conflict

Consumer confidence in the housing market likely suffered in September due to anxiety over the fiscal policy debate leading up to the government shutdown, Fannie Mae said in its latest national housing survey.

The report also forecast that sentiment towards the market may deteriorate in October as Americans cope with the effects of the now-realized government shutdown and brewing debt-ceiling crisis.

But despite headwinds emanating from political conflict, the share of Americans who believed it was a good time to sell and the share of those who believed it was a good time to buy in September both edged up, according to the results of Fannie Mae’s September 2013 National Housing Survey.

“Americans’ awareness of policy uncertainty leading up to the Oct. 1 shutdown and the pending debt ceiling debate appears to have grown as indicated by an apparent cautionary holding pattern in overall consumer housing and personal finance sentiment,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

“How and when these fiscal policy issues are addressed could impact consumer attitudes in October and beyond, and influence the fragile economic and housing recovery,” he added.

In addition to other findings, the survey found that:

  • At 3.1 percent, the average 12-month home price change expectation continued to fall, decreasing 0.3 percent from last month.
  • The share of people who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months fell by 3 percentage points to 52 percent.
  • The share of people who say home prices will go down fell to match July’s survey low at 6 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next year increased 3 percentage points month over month to a survey high of 63 percent.
  • The share who say it is a good time to buy a house increased by 1 percentage point to 72 percent.
  • The share who say it is a good time to sell a house increased by 2 percentage points to 38 percent.

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