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Press Release

Home Purchase Sentiment Index Increases to 83.7 in April

May 9, 2016

Consumer Confidence in Home Selling Market Picks Up, but Overall Housing Sentiment Remains Flat

Jennifer Lucas


WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI) increased 3.5 points to 83.7 in April, bouncing back from an 18-month low in March, yet overall consumer housing sentiment has remained generally flat. The HPSI Good Time to Sell component approached an all-time survey high in April, posting the largest increase among the six HPSI components. The net share of consumers who think now is a good time to sell a home rose 16 percentage points. However, the Good Time to Buy component dipped to an all-time survey low, creating the narrowest gap on record between these two measures. In addition, although the net share of consumers reporting confidence about not losing their job rose 6 percentage points, the net share of consumers reporting that their income was significantly higher than it was 12 months ago stayed flat from the prior month.

Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index

“We can partially attribute the sizable gain in April in home selling optimism both to a correction for last month’s unexpected dip and to typical seasonal strength in housing activity in the spring and summer,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Even after accounting for these factors, continued tight housing supply has led to renewed strength in home price appreciation, making selling a home a more attractive prospect this year in particular. This improved sentiment could provide an extra boost of much-needed supply for the spring selling season.”


Fannie Mae’s April 2016 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) rose 3.5 percentage points in April to 83.7. More consumers think home prices will go up over the next 12 months compared to March, and slightly fewer consumers expect Mortgage Rates to go up over the next 12 months. Overall, the HPSI is up 1.4 points since this time last year.

  • The net share of American who say that it is a good time to buy a house fell 3 percentage points to 30%, reaching an all-time survey low.
  • Selling sentiment approached its all-time survey high in March, with the net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell rising 16 percentage points to 15%.
  • The net share of respondents who say that home prices will go up rose 3 percentage point to 37%, continuing the rising trend from March.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage interest rates will go down fell 1 percentage point to negative 46%.
  • The net share of respondents who say they are not concerned with losing their job rose 6 percentage points to 74%, nearly making up the 7 percentage point decrease in March.
  • The net share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago remained the same at 11%.


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.


The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey (NHS) polled 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 60 percent of respondents via their cell phones (as of October 2014). 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 April 2016 National Housing Survey was conducted between April 1, 2016 and April 22, 2016. 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 April 2016 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 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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