Markets & Economy

More consumers planning to buy as mortgage concerns ease

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The share of consumers who plan to buy a home rose to 6.9 percent in December, up from 5 percent in November, according to a monthly economic outlook released today by Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group. Despite concerns about mortgage availability, Fannie Mae economists reported that consumer attitudes about the ease of getting a mortgage are at the highest level in the 3 1/2-year history of its National Housing Survey. "This result is consistent with the Federal Reserve's survey of senior loan officers who reported that they have eased lending standards for residential mortgages over the past year and thus should offset some negative impact stemming from the current higher interest rate environment," Fannie Mae economists said. Now that some fiscal uncertainty has been resolved at the federal level, Fannie Mae economists predict an increase in consumer and business spending to bolster economic growth this year, with housing's contribution expected to...