Buyer confidence begins to bloom

The gloominess that seemed to shroud buyers during the bitter winter months has melted away and homebuyer’s attitudes are nearly as positive as they were a year ago, according to the latest Fannie Mae survey, conducted in March.

Consumers who say it’s a good time to buy climbed to 69 percent, the highest buyer confidence has been since September and just below 71 percent levels of March and April of last year. Confidence dropped to as low as 65 percent in January when concern over interest rates was high. Concern over rates fell markedly in March. The percentage of those who expect rates to rise fell from 56 to 54 percent from February to March and those who expect rates to fall rose from 34 to 38 percent.

Expectations that prices will increase also declined from February to March and contributed to buyer confidence. Those who expect prices to increase fell slightly from 50 to 48 percent and those who expect prices to stay the same shot up from 38 to 42 percent. Some 7 percent expect prices to fall, up from 5 percent in February. Overall, those participating in the survey expect prices to rise only 2.7 percent in 2014, down from 3.2 percent in February.

Sellers are also regaining confidence in the real estate markets. Some 38 percent of consumers say it’s a good time to sell, up from 34 percent in February.

The Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled a nationally representative sample of 1,005 respondents aged 18 and older between March 1, 2014. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Findings were compared to the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010.  

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