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Press Release

HPSI Dips on Diminished Home Buyer and Seller Sentiment

November 7, 2017

Matthew Classick


WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased 3.1 points in October to 85.2, falling from the all-time high matched last month. The decline can be attributed to decreases in four of the six HPSI components. The net share of respondents who said now is a good time to sell a home decreased 8 percentage points compared to September but remains up 11 percentage points compared to the same period last year. Additionally, the net share who reported that now is a good time to buy a home fell 6 percentage points in October. Americans also expressed a decreased sense of job security, with the net share who say they are not concerned about losing their job decreasing 5 percentage points. The net share of consumers who reported that their income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago fell by 1 percentage point, while the net share of those who believe mortgage rates will go down increased 1 percentage point. Finally, the net share who said home prices will go up in the next 12 months remained flat in October.

"The modest decrease in October's Home Purchase Sentiment Index is driven in large part by decreases in favorable views of the current home-buying and home-selling climates, a shift we expect at this time of year moving out of the summer home-buying season," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "Indicators of broader economic and personal financial sentiment remain relatively steady. Overall, these results are consistent with our view that the housing market will continue its slow, upward grind through 2018."


Fannie Mae’s 2017 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in October by 3.1 points to 85.2. The HPSI is up 3.5 points compared with the same time last year.

  • The net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home fell 6 percentage points to 22%, erasing much of last month’s 10 percentage point rise.
  • The net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell decreased by 8 percentage points to 30%.
  • The net share of Americans who say that home prices will go up remains at 40% in October.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months rose 1 percentage point to -46%.
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job fell by 5 percentage points to 70%.
  • The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago fell 1 percentage point to 14%.


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 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 60 percent of respondents via their cell phones (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 October 2017 National Housing Survey was conducted between October 1, 2017 and October 24, 2017. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by PSB, in coordination with Fannie Mae.


For detailed findings from the October 2017 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 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.

To receive e-mail updates with other housing market research from Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group, please click here.

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