Americans start the new year with a bleak assessment of the housing market’s prospects for recovery.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 2 percent of adults believe housing prices will recover in the next year. A total of 17 percent predict it will take two years, while 15% are not sure.
But 65% think it will be three years or more before housing prices recover.
Throughout 2009, the numbers who expected a turnaround in one year ranged from a high of 9 percent in September to a low of 5 percent in January and April.
Those predicting three years or more was in the equally narrow 57 percent to 60 percent range for the entire year.
Men are less optimistic than women. A total of 71 percent of men say it will take three years or more for the housing market to come back, compared to 60 percent of women.
Similarly, 70 percent of investors think it will be three years or more before the housing market recovers versus 61 percent of non-investors.
Those who earn more than $40,000 per year are more negative about the housing market’s short-term recovery than those who are paid less.
Democrats are more confident than Republicans and adults not affiliated with either party.
Hope for a stronger overall economy has declined in recent months, too, with pessimism up sharply from a year ago. Just 38 percent of Americans now believe the U.S. economy will get stronger over the coming year, while 39 percent expect it to be weaker up eight points from a year ago.
According to news reports, the Obama administration’s program to protect homeowners from foreclosure may have done more harm than good.
The New York Times reported, “Treasury officials appear to have concluded that growing numbers of delinquent borrowers simply lack enough income to afford their homes and must be eased out.”
But voters reached that conclusion long ago, according to a number of Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveys.
In late November, only 15 percent of adults believed it was a good time for someone in their area to be selling a house, a number that was largely stable throughout 2009.
A total 49 percent expected the value of their home to go up over the next five years, but that was a low for the year.
A total of 58 percent now say buying a home is the best investment families can make, but that also is a low finding for the year.
A total of 63 percent of Americans say, generally speaking, the housing market will only improve when the economy itself improves.
Most Americans liked the president’s idea of providing tax credits for first-time home buyers but were less enthusiastic when the price tag was included.
They strongly opposed expanding it to existing homeowners, although Congress did just that.