News Release

June 07, 2018

Housing Sentiment Continues to Strengthen, but High Home Prices Complicate Consumer Purchase Confidence

Katie Penote

202-752-2261

WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) rose 0.6 points in May to 92.3, reaching a new all-time survey high for the second consecutive month. However, consumer attitudes about buying and selling a home have continued to diverge as home prices have increased. While the net share of respondents who reported that now is a good time to sell a home increased to 46 percent in May, and is now up 14 percentage points year over year, the net share who said now is a good time to buy a home decreased to 28 percent, showing little improvement year over year. Meanwhile, the net share of consumers who said home prices will go up in the next 12 months remained unchanged at 49 percent, while the net share who expect mortgage rates to go down over the next 12 months fell 1 percentage point. In addition, more Americans reported improved job confidence in May and an increase in household income over the past 12 months. However, our National Housing Survey® results also showed that the share of consumers who expect their personal financial situation to improve within the next year fell 6 percentage points to 48 percent, and those who expect it to stay the same rose 6 percentage points to 40 percent.

“The HPSI edged up to another survey high in May, bolstered in part by a fresh record high in the net share of consumers who say it’s a good time to sell a home. However, the perception of high home prices that underlies this optimism cuts both ways, boosting not only the good-time-to-sell sentiment but also the view that it’s a bad time to buy, and presenting a potential dilemma for repeat buyers,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “For the survey’s renter respondents, who are unable to reap benefits from selling a home, the HPSI has been essentially flat in the first quarter, during which home sales were also lackluster. According to our latest Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey®, which we expect to release on Tuesday, lenders expect mortgage demand to soften in the near term.”

HOME PURCHASE SENTIMENT INDEX – COMPONENT HIGHLIGHTS

Fannie Mae’s 2018 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) increased in May by 0.6 points to 92.3. The HPSI is up 6.1 points compared with the same time last year.

  • The net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home decreased 1 percentage point to 28%.
  • The net share of those who say it is a good time to sell a home rose 1 percentage points to 46%, reaching a new survey high for the second straight month.
  • The net share of Americans who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months is unchanged from the prior month at 49%.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months decreased 1 percentage point to -49%.
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job increased 2 percentage points to 78%, equaling the survey high.
  • The net share of those who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 3 percentage points to a new survey high of 21%.

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 most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey (NHS) polled approximately 1,000 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 with the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). As cell phones have become common and many households no longer have landline phones, the NHS contacts 70 percent of respondents via their cell phones (as of January 2018). 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 May 2018 National Housing Survey was conducted between May 1, 2018 and May 22, 2018. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by PSB, in coordination with Fannie Mae.

DETAILED HPSI & NHS FINDINGS

For detailed findings from the May 2018 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.

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Fannie Mae helps make the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and affordable rental housing possible for millions of Americans. We partner with lenders to create housing opportunities for families across the country. We are driving positive changes in housing finance to make the home buying process easier, while reducing costs and risk. To learn more, visit fanniemae.com and follow us on twitter.com/fanniemae.