MOST CONSUMERS WHO PARTICIPATED in the Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index survey said that they anticipated both housing prices and mortgage rates to continue rising. Almost 40 percent indicated that the increase might be enough to induce a housing bubble within the next three years.
Gallup chief economist Dennis Jacobe doesn't see consumers' concerns altering their actions. “It doesn't mean that anyone's behavior is going to change; it means [consumers] are concerned about rapid increase in [housing] prices and that income and the ability to purchase won't keep up,” he says.
Seventy percent of respondents expect housing prices to increase over the next year, while nearly a fourth expect them to remain steady. Only 5 percent anticipate prices to drop.
Three out of four participants also anticipate interest rate hikes. Roughly half of those forecasting rate increases believe the jump will be one point or less while a third believe that up to a two-point rise is imminent.
Many of the respondents were unfamiliar with the term “housing bubble,” but once its definition was explained, four in 10 said it is “somewhat” or “very” likely that such a situation could occur within three years. Jacobe says those results “were higher than expected.”
The survey also indicated that compared to the roughly one-third of consumers with higher incomes, 46 percent of consumers with an annual household income of less than $40,000 were more likely to believe that a bubble is possible. Jacobe said that lower-income consumers express more concern because they are less likely to experience income increases, thus rendering them more susceptible to any price hikes. “They doubt the sustainability of higher prices,” says Jacobe.