WASHINGTON – Americans, by a margin of more than 3 to 1, expect the housing market to improve over the next 12 months, part of a broader brightening in their outlook for the economy, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.
Fifty percent of poll respondents say the market will continue to get better in 2013 compared with only 16 percent who say they expect it to decline.
An additional 31 percent say the market will stay about the same.
Prices are very steadily, slowly, starting to creep back up, says Eric Matheny, 31, an attorney from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who purchased a new home five months ago.
The housing market is a major part of the economy, so it says something about the strength of the economy.
The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index rose 5.5 percent in the 12 months to November, the biggest year-over-year gain since August 2006.
In January, homebuilders began work on 613,000 single-family homes, the most since July 2008, the U.S. Commerce Department said last week.
As the housing market, the epicenter of the 2008 financial crisis, continues healing, Americans say they expect its improvement to spread through the economy, according to the poll of 1,003 adults conducted Feb. 15-18.
By a margin of 43 percent to 26 percent, respondents say prospects for job growth will increase over the next 12 months, with 30 percent seeing little change; 37 percent anticipate a stronger economy compared with 25 percent who disagree and 37 percent who say it will be about the same.
Susan Kosko, 43, a risk-management assistant in rural Pennsylvania, says she feels a tiny bit better about the economy thanks to rising home prices in her area and low interest rates.
The deficit is a big concern, she adds via email.
On several other measures of economic well-being that Bloomberg has tracked over time, the share of poll respondents saying they expect improvement rose from December.
Asked about overall financial security, 32 percent say they expect their situation to get better compared with 14 percent who see tougher times ahead and 48 percent seeing little change.