Housing Market Optimism After Government Shutdown

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The Federal Savings Bank informs readers of the effect of the government shutdown on consumer confidence regarding the housing market.

The government shutdown has had far-reaching effects, from the closing of national parks to thousands of workers on furlough. The Federal Savings Bank is interested in the September National Housing Survey conducted by Fannie Mae on October 9th. The survey revealed that the shutdown may have also had an effect on the attitude and confidence of consumers about the housing market.

Shutdown influence
The outlook for the housing market remained positive for consumers in September overall, but the growth of confidence plateaued and declined minimally over the past three months. Fannie Mae stated that the September report may not even consider the full impact of the shutdown on consumer confidence, suggesting that the October report will be more telling of opinions.

"Our September National Housing Survey results show that the improvements in consumer housing attitudes witnessed in recent months softened ahead of the government shutdown," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "Americans' awareness of policy uncertainty leading up to the October 1st shutdown and the pending debt ceiling debate appears to have grown as indicated by an apparent cautionary holding pattern in overall consumer housing and personal finance sentiment."

Positive report findings
While the shutdown may have dampened the faith of American consumers slightly, some of the report remained positive. The number of respondents who said the current market was a good time to buy a house increased by 1 percent in September to 72 percent. For mortgage borrowers, 47 percent of respondents thought that it would be fairly easy to get a loan today, an increase of 2 percent from the previous month. While most did not agree that the economy was on the right track, the number of Americans who did increased to 39 percent, a 2 percent increase since August.

“These are numbers are important to us” says Nick, a banker at The Federal Savings Bank. “We always need to understand our customer before he/she walks through the door.”

When asked about mortgage rates, more Americans expected rates to increase with 63 percent of respondents. However, higher mortgage rates are not necessarily bad for borrowers, but could indicate that the market has gained strength in the long run - good news for all homeowners.

"How and when these fiscal policy issues are addressed could impact consumer attitudes in October and beyond, and influence the fragile economic and housing recovery," said Duncan.

Depending on when Congress is able to pass a bill to fund and reopen the government, the attitude and optimism toward the housing market among Americans could change. Despite the September report, consumers can remain confident that the recovery already seen has led to a more stable housing market.

Contact the Federal Savings Bank, a veteran owned bank, to discuss affordable mortgage options.

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