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National Housing Survey

Mortgage Rate Optimism Hits Survey High

Consumer Sentiment toward Housing at Highest Level in Nearly Two Years

February 7, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) increased 3.5 points in January to 70.7, its highest level since March 2022, due primarily to increased consumer confidence in job security and another significant jump in the share of consumers expecting mortgage rates to decrease. In January, 82% of consumers indicated that they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months, up from 75% last month. Additionally, an all-time survey-high 36% of respondents indicated that they expect mortgage rates to go down in the next 12 months, while 28% expect them to go up, and 35% expect rates to remain the same. However, consumer perceptions of homebuying conditions remain overwhelmingly pessimistic, with only 17% of consumers indicating it’s a good time to buy a home. Overall, the full index is up 9.1 points year over year.

“Mortgage rate optimism increased markedly again in January, with a survey-high percentage of consumers anticipating mortgage rate declines over the next year,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “For the first time in our National Housing Survey’s history, a greater share of consumers believe mortgage rates will decrease over the next year, rather than increase. Consumers also expressed greater confidence in their job situations this month, another sign that housing sentiment may continue to improve in 2024.”

Duncan continued: “However, while home affordability may improve if actual mortgage rates continue moving downward, other parts of the affordability equation have yet to ease or improve for consumers. A large majority still think home prices will either increase or stay the same; the ‘good time to buy’ component continues to hover near its historical low; and fewer than one-in-five respondents indicated that their household income was significantly higher year over year, matching a survey low. All in all, while a lower mortgage rate path supports our forecast for a gradual increase in housing demand and sales activity in 2024, until we see a meaningful increase in housing supply, we expect affordability will remain a significant barrier to homeownership for many households.” 

On the right rail of this webpage, you will find a news release with highlights from the HPSI and National Housing Survey results, the latest Data Release highlighting the consumer attitudinal indicators, month-over-month key indicator data, an overview and white paper about the HPSI, technical notes providing in-depth information about the National Housing Survey methodology, the questionnaire used for the survey, and a comparative assessment of Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey and other consumer surveys.

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Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group or survey respondents 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 could produce materially different results. The analyses, opinions, estimates, forecasts, and other views published by the ESR Group represent the views of that group or survey respondents as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.