COVID-19 Pushes Consumer Confidence in Housing to Lowest Level Since November 2011
WASHINGTON, DC – May 7, 2020 – After falling 11.7 points last month, the Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTCQB) Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased an additional 17.8 points in April to 63.0, its lowest reading since November 2011. Five of the six HPSI components decreased month over month, as consumers reported a markedly more pessimistic view of homebuying and home selling conditions. Moreover, on net, more consumers reported that their household income is significantly lower today than it was 12 months ago. Year over year, the HPSI is down 25.3 points.
“The HPSI experienced another unprecedented decline in April, falling to its lowest level since November 2011,” said Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “The 17.8-point decrease reflected consumers’ deepening concerns about both their incomes and the housing market. Attitudes about whether it’s a good time to sell a home fell most sharply, dropping an additional 23 points this month. Individuals’ heightened uncertainty about job security, as registered in the survey over the last two months, is likely weighing on prospective homebuyers, who may be more wary of the substantial, long-term financial commitment of a mortgage. On average, consumers expect home prices to fall 2 percent over the next 12 months, the lowest expected growth rate in survey history. While consumers did grow more pessimistic in April about whether it’s a good time to buy a home, low mortgage rates remain a driver of purchase optimism. We expect that the much steeper decline in selling sentiment relative to buying sentiment will soften downward pressure on home prices.”
Home Purchase Sentiment Index – Component Highlights
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in April by 17.8 points to 63.0. The HPSI is down 25.3 points compared to the same time last year. Read the full research report for additional information.
- Good/Bad Time to Buy: The percentage of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home decreased from 56% to 48%, while the percentage who say it is a bad time to buy increased from 36% to 46%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy decreased 18 percentage points.
- Good/Bad Time to Sell: The percentage of Americans who say it is a good time to sell a home decreased from 52% to 29%, while the percentage who say it’s a bad time to sell increased from 36% to 65%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell decreased 52 percentage points.
- Home Price Expectations: The percentage of Americans who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months decreased this month from 39% to 23%, while the percentage who said home prices will go down increased from 22% to 34%. The share who think home prices will stay the same increased from 32% to 36%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say home prices will go up decreased 28 percentage points.
- Mortgage Rate Expectations: The percentage of Americans who say mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months increased this month from 20% to 23%, while the percentage who expect mortgage rates to go up decreased from 39% to 33%. The share who think mortgage rates will stay the same increased from 33% to 35%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months increased 9 percentage points.
- Job Concerns: The percentage of Americans 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 the same at 23%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job decreased 1 percentage point.
- Household Income: The percentage of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased from 27% to 20%, while the percentage who say their household income is significantly lower increased from 11% to 21%. The percentage who say their household income is about the same decreased from 61% to 58%. As a result, the net share of those who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased 17 percentage points.
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 April 2020 National Housing Survey was conducted between April 2, 2020 and April 22, 2020. 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 April 2020 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.
About Fannie Mae
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:
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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.