Housing Sentiment Returns to Near-Survey Low Amid Affordability Constraints and Job Security Concerns
WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTCQB) Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased 3.6 points in February to 58.0, breaking a streak of three consecutive monthly increases and returning the index closer to its all-time survey low set in October 2022. Overall, four of the HPSI’s six components decreased month over month, most notably those associated with job security and home-selling conditions. While both components remain positive on net, in February 44% of consumers reported that it’s a bad time to sell a home, up from 39% last month, and 24% expressed concern about losing their job in the next 12 months, up from 18% last month. Year over year, the full index is down 17.3 points.
“The HPSI declined this month and is now just slightly above the survey low set late last year,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “The decline was partly driven by a substantial decrease in consumers’ sense of home-selling conditions, with most respondents who indicated it’s a ‘bad time to sell’ citing unfavorable economic conditions and mortgage rates as the primary reasons for that belief. With home-selling sentiment now lower than it was pre-pandemic – and homebuying sentiment remaining near its all-time low – consumers on both sides of the transaction appear to be feeling cautious about the housing market. We believe these results corroborate our expectation for subdued home sales in the coming quarters, particularly now that mortgage rates have begun rising again. Additionally, this month’s survey indicated an increase in job security concerns, which we’ll continue to monitor closely, since labor market uncertainty could play yet another factor in slowing housing activity.”
Home Purchase Sentiment Index – Component Highlights
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in February by 3.6 points to 58.0. The HPSI is down 17.3 points compared to the same time last year. Read the full research report for additional information.
- Good/Bad Time to Buy: The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to buy a home increased from 17% to 20%, while the percentage who say it is a bad time to buy decreased from 82% to 79%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to buy increased 5 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 decreased from 59% to 54%, while the percentage who say it’s a bad time to sell increased from 39% to 44%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell decreased 10 percentage points month over month.
- Home Price Expectations: The percentage of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months decreased from 32% to 30%, while the percentage who say home prices will go down decreased from 37% to 35%. The share who think home prices will stay the same increased from 30% to 33%. As a result, the net share of those who say home prices will go up increased 1 percentage point month over month.
- Mortgage Rate Expectations: The percentage of respondents who say mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months increased from 13% to 15%, while the percentage who expect mortgage rates to go up increased from 52% to 55%. The share who think mortgage rates will stay the same decreased from 33% to 28%. As a result, the net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months decreased 1 percentage point month over month.
- Job Loss Concern: The percentage of respondents who say they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months decreased from 82% to 73%, while the percentage who say they are concerned increased from 18% to 24%. As a result, the net share of those who say they are not concerned about losing their job decreased 15 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 remained unchanged at 22%, while the percentage who say their household income is significantly lower increased from 10% to 12%. The percentage who say their household income is about the same decreased from 67% to 63%. As a result, the net share of those who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased 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 National Housing Survey (NHS) is a monthly attitudinal survey, launched in 2010, which polls the adult general population of the United States to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, purchase and rental prices, household finances, and overall confidence in the economy. Each respondent is asked more than 100 questions, making the NHS one of the most detailed attitudinal longitudinal surveys of its kind, 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 February 2023 National Housing Survey was conducted between February 1, 2023 and February 19, 2023. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. The February 2023 NHS was conducted exclusively through AmeriSpeak®, NORC at the University of Chicago’s probability-based panel, on behalf of PSB Insights and in coordination with Fannie Mae. Calculations are made using unrounded and weighted respondent level data to help ensure precision in NHS results from wave to wave. As a result, minor differences in calculated data (summarized results, net calculations, etc.) of up to 1 percentage point may occur due to rounding.
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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About the ESR Group
Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group, led by Chief Economist Doug Duncan, studies current data, analyzes historical and emerging trends, and conducts surveys of consumer and mortgage lender groups to provide forecasts and analyses on the economy, housing, and mortgage markets. The ESR Group was recently awarded the prestigious 2022 Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Forecast Accuracy based on the accuracy of its macroeconomic forecasts published over the 4-year period from 2018 to 2021.
About Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae advances equitable and sustainable access to homeownership and quality, affordable rental housing for millions of people across America. We enable the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and drive responsible innovation to make homebuying and renting easier, fairer, and more accessible. 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, including assumptions about the duration and magnitude of shutdowns and social distancing, 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.