Borrowers, Mortgage Lenders Equally Upbeat About 2015 Housing Market, Fannie Mae Survey Says

With the housing market having ended 2014 on a positive note, consumers and financial institutions both feel an air of optimism about the real estate space for the current year, according to two new surveys from Fannie Mae.

Statistics in the January 2015 National Housing Survey from Fannie Mae show that there were 4 percent more respondents who are earning a significantly higher amount of income now compared to 12 months ago, with the share of consumers agreeing to this now at 29 percent. Those who expect that their financial situation would improve over the coming 12 months, on the other hand, took up a 48 percent share. Both represent all-time highs on Fannie Mae’s monthly survey.

Housing Market

With all this in mind, 67 percent of consumers polled said that they believe now is the right time to buy a home – this represents a 3 percent increase over December’s figure of 64 percent. The percentage of consumers who would rather buy than rent a home was up as well, moving from 61 percent in December 2014 to 66 percent in January 2015 and marking the first monthly increase in four months.

In a statement, Fannie Mae senior vice president and chief economist Douglas Duncan highlighted the ebullience felt by consumers as they start out a new calendar year and look forward to better things to come in the housing market. “Consumers are as positive about their personal finances at the start of 2015 as they have been since we launched the National Housing Survey in 2010, and this optimism seems to be spilling over into housing market attitudes,” he said.

“Consumers are more optimistic about the environment both for buying and for selling a home today, and the share who plan to own on their next move has jumped back up, reversing a three-month trend toward renting.”

Lenders are also feeling a lot of optimism with regards to the housing market, as a separate Fannie Mae survey stated. The latest Lender Sentiment Survey from the government-sponsored mortgage buyer shows that lenders generally believe the U.S. housing market is in good shape, and may grow even further in the run-up to the spring home buying season. A total of 88 percent of lenders told Fannie Mae that they hope to grow their mortgage origination business in 2015.

According to United Wholesale Mortgage president and CEO Mat Ishbia, 2013 was a year wherein volume was the most important variable dictating success in the housing market, and 2014 saw purchases and “which lenders would be in this long term” standing out as the main variable. He also added that 2014 was a year where a lot of consumers did well despite the challenges encountered by the market.

“Now in 2015, the deck has cleared, and people have started to focus on how to grow their business,” he added in an interview with Housing Wire. “We expect this year to be our best year in terms of overall business and are really bullish on the market this year.”

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