Consumer Confidence in Housing Market Remains Near Historic Lows
WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTCQB) Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) increased 3.3 points in March to 61.3, but it remains only slightly above its all-time low set late last year. Overall, four of the HPSI’s six components increased month over month, most notably those associated with home-selling conditions and consumers’ sense of job security. While the former component remains slightly positive on net, in March 40% of consumers reported that it’s a bad time to sell a home, down from 44% last month, and 21% expressed concern about losing their job in the next 12 months, down from 24% last month. Year over year, the full index is down 11.9 points.
“Despite the recent banking turbulence, the HPSI increased modestly in March, although it still remains near its historical low,” said Mark Palim, Fannie Mae Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “With the spring homebuying season now upon us, a large majority of consumers continue to believe that it’s a bad time to buy a home. Homeowners sharing this belief frequently cited ‘unfavorable mortgage rates’ as the primary reason for their pessimism, further corroborating the often-discussed disincentive – or ‘lock-in effect’ – that many mortgage holders who may be considering moving have toward giving up their lower rates. By contrast, surveyed renters once again indicated that high home prices are their primary concern for buying a home.”
Palim continued: “Unsurprisingly, consumers also expressed apprehension about the direction of home prices. In March, there was an even split among respondents who said home prices over the next 12 months will go up compared to those who expect them to go down. With affordability constraints, the lock-in effect, and home price direction uncertainty weighing heavily on consumers’ minds, we maintain our forecast that total home sales for the year will remain subdued.”
Home Purchase Sentiment Index – Component Highlights
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) increased in March by 3.3 points to 61.3. The HPSI is down 11.9 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 remained unchanged at 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 (due to rounding).
- Good/Bad Time to Sell: The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home increased from 54% to 58%, while the percentage who say it’s a bad time to sell decreased from 44% to 40%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell increased 8 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 30% to 32%, while the percentage who say home prices will go down decreased from 35% to 31%. The share who think home prices will stay the same increased from 33% to 35%. As a result, the net share of those who say home prices will go up increased 4 percentage points month over month.
- Mortgage Rate Expectations: The percentage of respondents who say mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months decreased from 15% to 12%, while the percentage who expect mortgage rates to go up decreased from 55% to 51%. The share who think mortgage rates will stay the same increased from 28% to 34%. As a result, the net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months increased 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 increased from 73% to 78%, while the percentage who say they are concerned decreased from 24% to 21%. As a result, the net share of those who say they are not concerned about losing their job increased 7 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 22% to 20%, while the percentage who say their household income is significantly lower decreased from 12% to 11%. The percentage who say their household income is about the same increased from 63% to 68%. 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 March 2023 National Housing Survey was conducted between March 1, 2023 and March 19, 2023. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. The March 2023 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.
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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 recently 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:
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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, including assumptions about the duration and magnitude of shutdowns and social distancing, 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.