The number of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago hit an all-time survey high in July, according to Fannie Mae’s most recent National Housing Survey. The improvement represents a steady rise in consumers’ personal finances and is a reason to be optimistic about the housing market’s outlook. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist, said that, for there to be a robust housing recovery, there has to be full-time job and income growth. And Duncan believes that recent data indicating the creation of more than 200,000 jobs over each of the past six months – in addition to the improvement in consumers’ financial situation – provide reasons for optimism. If these trends continue, they could lead to some upside in housing next year, Duncan said. Despite the optimistic outlook, Americans are still cautious when it comes to the economy and residential real estate. Still, 67 percent say now is a good time to buy a house and 43 percent think it’s a good time to sell. The narrowing gap between the two is an indication that there is a better balance of supply and demand in today’s market. More here.