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Consumers, residents generally pessimistic about economy

Nov 11, 2011 Philip Burgess

Economic conditions continue to weigh on consumers' minds and affect their financial and credit decisions. According to a survey released this week by Fannie Mae, consumers have suffered from stagnant incomes over the past year and do not expect their financial situations to improve. U.S. consumers are similarly pessimistic when it comes to the wider U.S. economy, as more than three-quarters of respondents stated they believe the economy is headed in the wrong direction. Another 36 percent report they are struggling with significantly higher expenses than they were a year ago. "More positive economic headlines over the past month failed to lift consumers' moods," said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae. "While their views regarding their personal finances and the direction of the economy have not deteriorated further, it is discouraging to see the lack of appreciable improvement after overall sentiment took a hit during the debt ceiling debate in August." The housing market has been particularly slow to recover, as many homeowners expect mortgage rates and rental prices to climb over the next year, underscoring the need to property owners to leverage resident screening services to mitigate credit risks.