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National Housing Survey

Housing Sentiment Remains Stuck in Low-Level Plateau

Only 14% of Consumers Believe It’s a Good Time to Buy a Home, a New Survey Low

December 7, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTCQB) Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased 0.6 points in November, remaining within the bounds of the low-level plateau it established in the first half of 2023. Consumers’ perceptions of homebuying conditions remain overwhelmingly pessimistic, as only 14% of consumers believe it’s a good time to buy a home, a new survey low. Pluralities of respondents also continue to expect both home prices and mortgage rates to increase over the next 12 months. Overall, the full index is up 7.0 points compared to last year.

“Over the past year, the HPSI has plateaued at a low level, evidence of persistent consumer pessimism regarding the state of the housing market,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Looking back, consumer belief that it’s a ‘bad time to buy a home’ hit a survey high several times this year – including this month – and each time the pessimism could be attributed to high home prices and high mortgage rates. At the end of 2022, as mortgage rates approached 7%, a rate level not seen in over a decade, a plurality of consumers said they expected home prices to decrease; however, that optimism faded over the course of 2023. A significant majority of respondents have also continued to expect mortgage rates to increase or stay the same, though these expectations have tempered over the year. At the same time, consumers have expressed a reduced sense of financial security, with fewer respondents reporting household income growth over the year and a higher percentage saying their incomes remained the same.”

Duncan continued: “The combination of persistent affordability challenges and less rosy household finances remain the primary drivers of the low-level plateauing of housing sentiment. Even if mortgage rates decline over the next year, which we currently expect, it’s unlikely to meaningfully affect affordability. The lack of housing inventory is likely to remain a challenge for some time, and home purchase sentiment may continue to be suppressed as a result. As our forecast indicates, we believe it will be a couple years before homes sales return to more normal, pre-pandemic levels.”

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.

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