Consumer Pessimism Regarding Direction of Mortgage Rates Hits New Survey High
WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTCQB) Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased by 2.1 points to 73.2 in March, as consumers continue to express pessimism regarding the trajectory of mortgage rates and homebuying conditions generally. Overall, four of the index’s six components decreased month over month, including the components asking consumers whether they expect mortgage rates to go up and whether they believe it’s a good time to buy a home. In March, a survey-high 69% of respondents indicated that they expect mortgage rates to continue their upward ascent. On net, the “Good Time to Buy” component set a new survey low, with 73% of respondents reporting that it’s a bad time to buy a home. Year over year, the full index is down 8.5 points.
“The ‘Good Time to Buy’ component of the index reached yet another record low, with high home prices, rising mortgage rates, and macroeconomic uncertainty serving as consumers’ chief concerns,” said Mark Palim, Fannie Mae Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Only 24% of consumers believe it’s a good time to buy a home, with similar levels of pessimism expressed by nearly all of the demographic groups surveyed,”
Palim continued: “This month, we also saw a survey-high share of consumers expecting their financial situations to worsen over the next year; this was especially true among current homeowners. These concerns, together with the run-up in mortgage rates since the end of 2021, will likely diminish mortgage demand from move-up buyers – and fewer move-up buyers mean fewer available entry-level homes, adding to the rising-rate challenges for potential first-time homebuyers. If consumer pessimism toward homebuying conditions continues and the recent mortgage rate increases are sustained, then we expect to see an even greater cooling of the housing market than previously forecast.”
Home Purchase Sentiment Index – Component Highlights
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in March by 2.1 points to 73.2. The HPSI is down 8.5 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 29% to 24%, while the percentage who say it is a bad time to buy increased from 67% to 73%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to buy decreased 11 percentage points 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 72% to 74%, while the percentage who say it’s a bad time to sell decreased from 22% to 21%. 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 46% to 48%, while the percentage who say home prices will go down increased from 16% to 20%. The share who think home prices will stay the same decreased from 32% to 28%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say home prices will go up decreased 2 percentage points month over month.
- Mortgage Rate Expectations: The percentage of respondents who say mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months increased from 3% to 4%, while the percentage who expect mortgage rates to go up increased from 67% to 69%. The share who think mortgage rates will stay the same increased from 22% to 23%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months decreased 1 percentage point month over month.
- Job Concerns: The percentage of respondents who say they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months decreased from 87% to 86%, while the percentage who say they are concerned increased from 9% to 11%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job decreased 3 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 increased from 27% to 29%, while the percentage who say their household income is significantly lower increased from 12% to 13%. The percentage who say their household income is about the same decreased from 56% to 53%. As a result, the net share of those who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago increased 1 percentage point 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 most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey (NHS) polled approximately 1,000 respondents 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). 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 2022 National Housing Survey was conducted between March 1, 2022 and March 23, 2022. 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 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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Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, 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, 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 or survey respondents as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.