Floridians are feeling more pessimistic about their personal finances, according to a University of Florida survey released Tuesday.

Their view on whether their current finances are better than a year ago fell five points in February to 61, while their expectations of being better off economically a year from now also dropped five points to 75.

"We did not expect such a steep decline in perceptions of personal finances both now and in the future," said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center. "It was particularly sharp among seniors, although both young and old respondents were pessimistic about their future finances."

He speculated that the recent leveling off of home prices in the state may have contributed to the pessimism. The stock market, where many have retirement investments, also fell when 399 Floridians were surveyed by phone from Feb. 1 to 20, he said. "The stock market has since recovered," McCarty said.

Overall, Floridians' overall consumer confidence remained steady in February at 78, the same as January. "It’s stuck at 78 – historically, that’s not a high level," he said.

The UF survey had a margin of error of 4.5 percent. The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest 150.

dgehrke@tribune.com or Twitter @donnagehrke