Housing Sentiment Again Shows Signs of Plateauing

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HPSI Flat in April as Consumers Continue to Adjust to Higher Rate Environment

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fannie Mae (OTCQB: FNMAHome Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) was unchanged in April at 71.9 and is showing signs of once again plateauing as consumers continue to adjust to the higher interest rate and home price environment. This month, 67% of consumers indicated that it's a good time to sell a home, while 20% said it's a good time to buy a home. These two indicators are up 10 percentage points and 3 percentage points, respectively, since the end of 2023, despite mortgage rates having moved steadily upward. Additionally, the share of respondents who expect mortgage rates to go down over the next 12 months fell to 26%. The full index is up 5.1 points year over year.

(PRNewsfoto/Fannie Mae)

"The HPSI, unchanged this month, may have hit another plateau as consumers maintain their 'wait and see' approach to the housing market," said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. "Overall, housing sentiment increased from November through February, driven largely by consumer belief that mortgage rates would move lower. However, recent data showing stickier-than-expected inflation, rising mortgage rates, and continued home price appreciation appear to have given consumers pause regarding the market's direction. While only 20% of consumers think it's a good time to buy a home, 67% think it's a good time to sell one, a share that's moved steadily upward since the start of the year. We think consumers' generally improved sense of home-selling conditions bodes well for listings and housing activity, particularly for the segment of the population who may need to move for lifestyle reasons and have already begun adjusting their financial expectations to the current mortgage rate and price environment. However, for potential homebuyers in less of a rush to transact, ongoing affordability challenges may continue to keep many of them on the sidelines – one reason why we expect home sales to tick up only gradually over the course of the year."

Home Purchase Sentiment Index – Component Highlights

Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) remained unchanged in April at 71.9. The HPSI is up 5.1 points compared to the same time last year. Read the full research report for additional information.

  • Good/Bad Time to Buy: The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to buy a home decreased from 21% to 20%, while the percentage who say it is a bad time to buy remained unchanged at 79%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to buy decreased 1 percentage point month over month.
  • Good/Bad Time to Sell: The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home increased from 66% to 67%, while the percentage who say it's a bad time to sell decreased from 34% to 32%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell increased 3 percentage points month over month.
  • Home Price Expectations: The percentage of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased from 40% to 42%, while the percentage who say home prices will go down decreased from 20% to 18%. The share who think home prices will stay the same increased from 38% to 39%. As a result, the net share of those who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased 3 percentage points over month.
  • Mortgage Rate Expectations: The percentage of respondents who say mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months decreased from 29% to 26%, while the percentage who expect mortgage rates to go up decreased from 34% to 33%. The share who think mortgage rates will stay the same increased from 36% to 40%. As a result, the net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months decreased 1 percentage point month over month.
  • Job Loss Concern: The percentage of respondents who say they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months decreased from 77% to 76%, while the percentage who say they are concerned remained unchanged at 23%. As a result, the net share of those who say they are not concerned about losing their job decreased 2 percentage points month over month.
  • Household Income: The percentage of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased from 19% to 17%, while the percentage who say their household income is significantly lower remained unchanged at 12%. The percentage who say their household income is about the same increased from 68% to 70%. As a result, the net share of those who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased 2 percentage points month over month.

About Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index The Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) distills information about consumers' home purchase sentiment from Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey® (NHS) into a single number. The HPSI reflects consumers' current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions and complements existing data sources to inform housing-related analysis and decision making. The HPSI is constructed from answers to six NHS questions that solicit consumers' evaluations of housing market conditions and address topics that are related to their home purchase decisions. The questions ask consumers whether they think that it is a good or bad time to buy or to sell a house, what direction they expect home prices and mortgage interest rates to move, how concerned they are about losing their jobs, and whether their incomes are higher than they were a year earlier.

About Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey The National Housing Survey (NHS) is a monthly attitudinal survey, launched in 2010, which polls the adult general population of the United States to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, purchase and rental prices, household finances, and overall confidence in the economy. Each respondent is asked more than 100 questions, making the NHS one of the most detailed attitudinal longitudinal surveys of its kind, to track attitudinal shifts, six of which are used to construct the HPSI (findings are compared with the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). For more information, please see the Technical Notes.

Fannie Mae conducts this survey and shares monthly and quarterly results so that we may help industry partners and market participants target our collective efforts to support the housing market. The April 2024 National Housing Survey was conducted between April 1, 2024 and April 18, 2024. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. The latest NHS was conducted exclusively through AmeriSpeak®, NORC at the University of Chicago's probability-based panel, on behalf of PSB Insights and in coordination with Fannie Mae. Calculations are made using unrounded and weighted respondent level data to help ensure precision in NHS results from wave to wave. As a result, minor differences in calculated data (summarized results, net calculations, etc.) of up to 1 percentage point may occur due to rounding.

Detailed HPSI & NHS Findings For detailed findings from the Home Purchase Sentiment Index and National Housing Survey, as well as a brief HPSI overview and detailed white paper, technical notes on the NHS methodology, and questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Surveys page on fanniemae.com. Also available on the site are in-depth special topic studies, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies of NHS results.

To receive e-mail updates with other housing market research from Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group, please click here.

About the ESR Group Fannie Mae's Economic and Strategic Research Group, led by Chief Economist Doug Duncan, studies current data, analyzes historical and emerging trends, and conducts surveys of consumer and mortgage lender groups to provide forecasts and analyses on the economy, housing, and mortgage markets. The ESR Group was awarded the prestigious 2022 Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Forecast Accuracy based on the accuracy of its macroeconomic forecasts published over the 4-year period from 2018 to 2021.

About Fannie Mae Fannie Mae advances equitable and sustainable access to homeownership and quality, affordable rental housing for millions of people across America. We enable the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and drive responsible innovation to make homebuying and renting easier, fairer, and more accessible. To learn more, visit: fanniemae.com | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube | Blog

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Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, beliefs, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group or survey respondents included in these materials should not be construed as indicating Fannie Mae's business prospects or expected results, are based on a number of assumptions, and are subject to change without notice. How this information affects Fannie Mae will depend on many factors. Although the ESR Group bases its opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, beliefs, and other views on information it considers reliable, it does not guarantee that the information provided in these materials is accurate, current, or suitable for any particular purpose. Changes in the assumptions or the information underlying these views could produce materially different results. The analyses, opinions, estimates, forecasts, beliefs, and other views published by the ESR Group represent the views of that group or survey respondents as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.

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