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Press Release

Home Purchase Sentiment Index Surpasses Survey High, Reaching 86.5 in July

August 8, 2016

HPSI Returns to Gradual Upward Trend As Housing Market Indicators and Wages Pick Up; Possible Shift Among Millennials Toward Buying Rather than Renting

Jennifer Lucas


WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) increased 3.3 points to 86.5 in July, reaching a new all-time survey high and indicating a more positive outlook in the housing market-specific HPSI components. Each of the six HPSI components increased in July. The largest increases were seen in the net share of consumers who expect home prices to go up over the next 12 months, which rose 8 percentage points after a drop in June, and the net share of consumers who expect mortgage interest rates to go down over the next 12 months, which rose 5 percentage points. The Household Income component also rebounded after dropping in June, rising 3 percentage points to 11 percent. Notably, the share of consumers who said they would buy if they were going to move increased to 67 percent, while the share of consumers who said they would rent moved down to 26 percent, equaling an all-time National Housing Survey® low.

Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index

“The HPSI reached a new survey high in July, but enthusiasm should be tempered because the increase only returns the index to a very gradual upward trend,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “One interesting potential bright note for housing in the July survey is that younger households may finally be shifting toward buying rather than renting in greater numbers. Whether the shift in sentiment in July toward buying rather than renting on their next move holds up or is a temporary reaction to their view that rents are on the rise and mortgage rates will be lower, we will see. However, we are getting set to release some additional research in early August showing evidence of a broader move by older millennials in the direction of ownership.”


Fannie Mae’s July 2016 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) increased 3.3 percentage points in July to 86.5. Overall, the HPSI is up 5.2 points since this time last year.

  • Continuing the increase from June, the net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a house rose by 1 percentage point to 33%.
  • The net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell a house rose 2 percentage points in July to 20% – reaching a new survey high for the second consecutive month. A survey high and low were reached for those who think it is a good time and bad time to sell, respectively.
  • The net share of Americans who say that home prices will go up recovered from a drop in June, rising 8 percentage points to 41%.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next twelve months rose 5 percentage points to negative 36%, continuing the overall upward trend since the start of 2016.
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned with losing their job rose 1 percentage point to 69%.
  • The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 3 percentage points to 11% after June’s sharp decline.


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 July 2016 National Housing Survey was conducted between July 1, 2016 and July 25, 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 July 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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