Insecurity Grips Consumers as 2010 Ends

By Steve Cook Real Estate Economy Watch   |   Dec. 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Almost half of all Americans say they expect economy to get no better in the same in the coming year and two in five Americans (42 percent) feel less secure than they did a year ago while one-third (36 percent) feel just as secure and one in five (19 percent) say they now feel more secure.

Results of the Harris Poll conducted online between December 6 and 13, 2010 by Harris Interactive could herald real problems for housing sales in the coming year as consumers make plans for the coming home buying season.

Expectations are even bleaker than last year. Looking ahead to 2011, one-quarter of Americans (26 percent) say they expect the economy to get worse in the coming year while three in ten (29 percent) expect it to get better and 45 percent say it will stay the same. Last month, over one-third (34 percent) said they thought the economy would be getting better, 41 percent said it would stay the same and 25 percent believed it would get worse.

Just over one in three Americans (13 percent) rate the job market in their region of the country as good while three in five (63 percent) rate it as bad and one-quarter (24 percent) say it is neither good nor bad. Looking ahead, one-quarter of U.S. adults (25 percent) say they expect the job market to be better over the next six months, one in five (22 percent) say it will be worse and over half (54 percent) believe it will remain the same.

The poll had some good news for the home improvement market. One in eight Americans (13 percent )say they will undertake home improvements that increase the value of their home. Despite low mortgage rates, only 6 percent plan to refinance their mortgage an only 2 percent plan to take out a home equity line of credit.

Half of Americans (49 percent) say they will cut back on their household spending. Two in five say they will pay down their level of debt (41 percent) and save more in the year ahead (40 percent). One in five U.S. adults say they will get rid of one or more credit cards (22 percent) and save more for retirement (22 percent) while Less than one in ten will invest in less risky investments (8 percent), And, one in five Americans (18 percent) say they do not expect to do anything differently financially in 2011.

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