“In its new Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, the Federal Reserve Board provides a snapshot of the self-perceived financial and economic well-being of U.S. households and the issues they face, based on responses to the Board’s 2013 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking. The report provides insight into numerous topics of current relevance to household finances, including: housing and living arrangements; credit access and behavior; education and student loan debt; savings; retirement; and health expenses. Overall, the survey found that as of September 2013 many households were faring well, but that sizable fractions of the population were at the same time displaying signs of financial stress. Over 60 percent of respondents reported that their families were either “doing okay” or “living comfortably” financially; although one-fourth said that they were “just getting by” financially and another 13 percent said they were struggling to do so. The effects of the recession also continued to be felt by many households, with 34 percent reporting that they were somewhat worse off or much worse off financially than they had been five years earlier in 2008 and 34 percent reporting that they were about the same. The outlook for the housing market among homeowners appeared generally positive, as many homeowners expected house prices in their neighborhoods to increase over the 12 months following the survey, with 26 percent expecting an increase in values of 5 percent or less and 14 percent expecting an increase in values of greater than 5 percent. Less than 10 percent of homeowners expected house prices in their neighborhoods to decline over the 12 months following the survey. Many renters seemed to express an implied interest in homeownership, as the most common reasons cited by renters for renting rather than owning a home were an inability to afford the necessary down payment (45 percent) and an inability to qualify for a mortgage (29 percent). Ten percent of renters reported that they were currently looking to buy a home.”
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