HPSI Increases to 83.8 – Upward Grind Resumes, Bringing the Housing Indicator Back Near Its Peak Level

News Release

October 07, 2015

HPSI Increases to 83.8 - Upward Grind Resumes, Bringing the Housing Indicator Back Near Its Peak Level

Katie Penote


WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI) increased to 83.8 in September as consumer confidence in the home buying and selling market bounced back from a recent dip, suggesting continued gradual improvement in housing activity. The HPSI Good Time to Sell component increased 13 points on net in September due likely to a strong home price environment coupled with a slight improvement in consumers’ economic outlook. Additionally, the Good Time to Buy component increased 3 points on net as high rental costs may be encouraging more renters to consider homeownership. Although net home price and mortgage rate expectations dipped in September, consumers' confidence in their employment and financial situations climbed 2 and 3 points, respectively, further suggesting a possible firmer footing for housing.

Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index


“The HPSI returned near its record high this month, driven primarily by improvement in attitudes about selling a home and strengthening home prices,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “With consumers’ expectations for rental price increases continuing to outpace their expectations for home price growth, many consumers may view homeownership as a more attractive option. This should have positive implications for the housing market, which remains well below historical norms in relation to housing starts. We noted last week that, despite a relatively dismal jobs report, the addition of 8,000 construction jobs, the biggest gain in four months, may be a sign of grudging progress for the supply side of housing. The September HPSI data, combined with the recent increase in construction jobs, are consistent with our expectation for a continued upward grind in housing.”

Fannie Mae’s September 2015 Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI) increased 3 points to 83.8 in September following a two-month drop. Four of the six component questions posted net positive gains, most notably with Good Time to Sell increasing 13 points compared to August. Home Price and Mortgage Rate net expectations continued to fall, dipping 2 and 1 points, respectively. Overall, the HPSI is up 3.6 points since this time last year.

  • The share of respondents who said that it is a good time to buy a house rose 1 percentage point to 64%, continuing a positive trend since July’s survey low.
  • Those who say it is a good time to sell rose 5 percentage points to 52%, tying June’s survey high. The percent of respondents who say it is a bad time to sell decreased to 36%, setting a new survey low.
  • The percent of respondents who said that home prices will go up over the next 12 months fell to 45%. The percent who said that home prices will go down remained constant at 9%.
  • The share who expect mortgage interest rates to go up in the next 12 months rose 1 percentage point to 55%. The share who say mortgage rates will go down remained the same at 5%.
  • The share of respondents who say they are not concerned with losing their job rose to 84%, while the share of respondents who say they are concerned with losing their job fell to 15%.
  • The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose to 28%, while those who say it is significantly lower rose as well to 13%.                                                                                                                               


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 current and forward-looking housing market outcomes 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.                                                                                                                              


The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey™ polled 1,003 Americans via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence. Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts, six of which are used to construct the HPSI (findings are compared to the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). To reflect the growing share of households with a cell phone but no landline, the National Housing Survey has increased its cell phone dialing rate to 60 percent as of October 2014. 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 stabilize the housing market in the near-term, and provide support in the future. The September 2015 National Housing Survey was conducted between September 1, 2015 and September 25, 2015. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.


For detailed findings from the September 2015 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 Consumer Attitude Measures page on fanniemae.com. Also available on the site are in-depth topic analyses, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies of NHS results.

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Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group 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, 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, and other views published by the ESR Group represent the views of that group as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.

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