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Suddenly, A Lot More Consumers Say It's Tough to Get a Mortgage

MAR 10, 2014 1:14pm ET
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Over two-thirds of consumers say it is a good time to buy a home, according to a Fannie Mae survey, but 52% believe it is difficult to qualify for mortgage.

Fannie's February survey picked up a seven-point jump in the percentage of respondents who said it would be difficult to get a mortgage. Meanwhile, respondents who expect it would be easy to get a mortgage fell to 45% in February, down from 52% in the prior month.

Over the previous 12 months, the reading on "easy to get a mortgage" ranged from 45% to 52%. But it was generally improving until February.

Fannie research director Steven Deggendorf says the pessimistic attitude toward mortgage availability likely reflects the severe winter, which has produced a lot of mixed economic signals. It could also reflect a decline in consumer confidence in the overall economy. Perceptions should improve as spring takes hold and more people get out and look for houses, he says.

"My expectation is that it will move up next month," Deggendorf says. "But it will take another month or two to see what it really means."

Meanwhile, 68% of the 1,000 respondents to the survey say it is a good time to buy, up from 65% in the month prior. And 34% said it is a good time to sell, down four points from January.

Overall, 50% of respondents expect home prices will go up over the next 12 months and 56% expect mortgage rates will go up over the next 12 months.

Fannie released its February National Housing Survey Monday.

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