The gradual improvement in consumer confidence seen since the early fall of 2011 appears to have reached a plateau in May as Americans are taking a wait-and-see approach to buying or selling a home, according to a monthly survey by Fannie Mae.
The mortgage-finance company’s survey of 1,002 Americans last month found that 72% believe it is a good time to buy a home, up from 71% of the respondents in April. Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents who said it is a good time to sell remained at 15%.
Fannie Mae said the leveling of consumer attitudes can be seen in Americans’ inclination to buy their next home instead of renting, despite some mildly positive trends.
The company said 41% expect home-mortgage rates to rise over the next year, a slight increase from the prior month, and they predict, on average, home prices will increase 1.4% over the next 12 months.
Fannie Mae said both indicators suggest the potential that consumers may consider moving off the sidelines to purchase a home.
Nevertheless, the percentage of respondents who said they would buy fell to 63% from 64% in April while respondents who said they would rent if they were going to move was unchanged at 32%.