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National Housing Survey

Consumer Sentiment on Housing Dips Slightly Despite Growing Labor Market Optimism

Eighty-Two Percent of Consumers Report Not Being Concerned About Losing Their Job in Next 12 Months

March 8, 2021

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased in February by 1.2 points to 76.5. Four of the HPSI’s six components fell month over month, including most notably the homebuying conditions and household income components. Offsetting much of that decline, however, was increased optimism regarding job security, with consumers reporting a significantly more positive view of the labor market compared to January. Year over year, the HPSI is down 16.0 points.

“As we expected, the HPSI remained relatively flat in February, but underlying data indicate growing job-related optimism among consumers, especially among lower-income and renter groups,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “With the growing likelihood that lockdown restrictions will continue easing as vaccination efforts ramp up, and with warmer weather on the horizon and another round of fiscal stimulus pending, these two segments of consumers may have good reason to feel more positive about the labor market. This optimism appears to be well-placed, too, given Friday's jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed the strongest net gain in payroll employment since October, although the unemployment rate remains quite high by historical standards. However, other components of the index remain well below pre-pandemic levels, so we believe there may still be room for improvement in housing and economic attitudes in the coming months, depending in part on the future path of mortgage rates.”

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.

National Housing Survey Monthly Indicators Archive
Click here for an archived list of Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey Monthly Indicators.

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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