Saturday, October 16, 2010

Housing Still Perceived as Safe Investment

Fannie Mae’s latest national housing survey finds that most Americans believe the housing market has reached the bottom, but they are more cautious about owning a home. Respondents to the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey believe that home prices will hold steady (47%) or increase (31%) over the next year, and that rental prices will stay the same (46%) or go up (39%). Across the general population, the average expected rise in rental prices is four times that of home prices (3.6% versus 0.9%).

Seventy percent of Americans think it is a good time to buy a house, compared with 64% in a similar survey conducted in January 2010. But 33%—up from 30%—of all respondents said they would be more likely to rent their next home if they were to move.

“Our survey shows that consumers see a mixed outlook for housing and homeownership,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist, Fannie Mae. “These findings indicate a return to a more balanced and realistic approach toward housing. While this will likely weigh on the housing recovery in the near-term, it should, over time, help to build a stronger and healthier market focused on sustainable homeownership.”

A majority of Americans (67%) continue to believe that housing is a safe investment; however, that number is down 16 percentage points from a similar survey conducted in 2003—the largest drop by far among all investment types tracked since then. Delinquent borrowers and renters are notably more discouraged than mortgage borrowers and underwater borrowers about a home’s safety as an investment and the appeal of buying versus renting. More than 70% of all respondents believe it will be harder for the next generation to buy a home, up three points from the beginning of the year.

Our Hawaii Kai real estate market - and that of Hawaii in general - is somewhat an exception to the national real estate trends. We have a finite amount of land on which to build housing, and goods and services will always be more expensive because of the distances involved. These factors add their own pressures to our housing market. But as the numbers suggest for sales so far this year (read the Sept figures on my Active Rain blog), Oahu and Hawaii Kai real estate sales are already improving. Even as prices fluctuate, buyers still see the value in owning a home in Hawaii Kai or somewhere in the islands.

Barbara Abe, Realtor