Consumers have a positive outlook toward housing and the U.S. economy — for the most part.

That's according to the latest monthly National Housing Survey by Fannie Mae.

Consumers' outlook has "fluctuated somewhat during the past few months, but the trend for most indicators remains positive overall," Fannie Mae said in a release.

Consumer expectations positive overall
Here are some of the findings:

  • Fifty percent of the respondents said they expected home prices to rise during the next 12 months, a 7-point increase compared with the prior month. Only 38 percent expected prices to stay the same, a drop of 7 percent.
  • Respondents expected home prices to rise 3.2 percent, on average, over the next 12 months.
  • Fifty-six percent of respondents said they expected mortgage rates to increase in the next 12 months.
  • Sixty-eight percent of respondents said the present month was a good time to buy a house, an increase of 3 percent compared with the prior month.
  • Forty-five percent of respondents said they thought it would be easy for them to get mortgage, a 7-point decrease compared with the prior month.

Housing recovery continues despite bumpy road
In a statement, Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said survey results had been more volatile in recent months, mirroring the "noisy" economic and housing data. That was particularly true for expectations with respect to home prices and perceptions of how easy it would be to get a mortgage.

"Weather may have played a role," Duncan added, "as suggested by a 6 percentage point jump over the past two months in the share of consumers who say their household expenses are significantly higher than a year ago."

That finding "would be consistent with higher home heating costs," Duncan explained.

Despite some month-to-month fluctuations, the data suggest the housing recovery is continuing, though it "is not yet robust," Duncan said.

Researchers surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults via live telephone interviews between Feb. 1 and Feb. 23, 2014. More than 100 questions were asked to assess participants' attitudes toward homeownership, the U.S. economy, their household finances and their confidence level as consumers.

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