Polls are sometimes irrelevant. For example, a poll about whether most people think global warming is a problem won't make it any more or less a problem in actuality. That's up to science, not popular opinion. But in economics, sentiment does matter, as it can drive demand, which has a very real effect. So when a new poll reveals that housing market sentiment has plummeted since just last November, it could have significant implications.
According to the latest Trulia/RealtyTrac/Harris Interactive foreclosure attitude poll, Americans have become much more pessimistic about the housing market:
One common immediate reaction to this chart would be serious concern. More than half of Americans don't see a housing recovering until 2014 or later. Presumably, they won't be crazy about buying a home until the market is near recovery, which is to say that you can take them out of the equation until at least 2013. Another 24% doesn't see the market recovering until 2013. So take them out of the equation for the rest of this year and next year. That leaves a measly 23% of Americans who are optimistic about the housing market recovering in the relative near-term.
What looks even worse is that in November, just five months earlier, the sentiment was much cheerier. At that time, just 34% thought the market would continue to struggle through the end of 2013. In April, that percentage increased to 54%. And that entire 20% increase pushed people from the two most optimistic categories into the more pessimistic categories.