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Press Release

Home Purchase Sentiment Index Reaches New Survey High of 85.3 in May

Increase in Consumers' Household Income Growth Perceptions Boosts HPSI

Jennifer Lucas


Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index

“Continued home price appreciation has been squeezing housing affordability, driving a two-year downward trend in the share of consumers who think it’s a good time to buy a home,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The current low mortgage rate environment has helped ease this pressure, and fewer than half of consumers expect rates to go up in the next year. While the May increase in income growth perceptions could provide further support to prospective home buyers as the spring/summer home buying season gains momentum, the effect may be muted by May’s discouraging jobs report.”


Fannie Mae’s May 2016 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) rose 1.6 percentage points in May to 85.3. While the Good Time to Sell component fell 2 percentage points in May, selling a home remains an attractive option as 52 percent of consumers believe it is a good time to sell a home. Overall, the HPSI is up 1 point since this time last year.

  • The net share of Americans who say that it is a good time to buy a house fell 1 percentage point to 29%, reaching an all-time survey low for the second straight month.
  • Selling sentiment fell slightly in May, with the net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell falling 2 percentage points to 13%. However, an all-time survey high (52%) continue to believe it is a good time to sell.
  • The net share of Americans who say that home prices will go up rose 5 percentage points to 42%, continuing the rising trend that began in March.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage interest rates will go down rose 3 percentage points to negative 43%.
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned with losing their job fell 2 percentage points to 72%.
  • The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 7 percentage points to 18%, reaching a new all-time survey high.


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 May 2016 National Housing Survey was conducted between May 1, 2016 and May 23, 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 May 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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