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National Housing Survey/Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI)

Consumer Optimism About Mortgage Rates Jumps Significantly

January 8, 2024
Survey-High Share of Consumers Now Expect Mortgage Rates to Go Down

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) increased 2.9 points in December to 67.2, due primarily to a significant jump in the share of consumers expecting mortgage rates to go down over the next 12 months. In December, a survey-high 31% of consumers indicated that they expect mortgage rates to go down, while 31% expect them to go up, and 36% expect rates to remain the same. Although consumer perceptions of homebuying conditions remain overwhelmingly pessimistic, that particular component of the HPSI ticked up slightly month over month, with 17% of consumers now indicating it's a good time to buy a home, compared to 14% last month, a survey low. Overall, the full index is up 6.2 points year over year.

"Mortgage rate optimism increased dramatically this month, with a survey-high share of consumers anticipating mortgage rate declines over the next year," said Mark Palim, Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. "This significant shift in consumer expectations comes on the heels of the recent bond market rally and an already-significant downtick in 30-year mortgage rates, from their high of nearly 8% in early November to 6.62% as of this past week. Notably, homeowners and higher-income groups reported greater rate optimism than renters; in fact, for the first time in our National Housing Survey's history, more homeowners, on net, believe mortgage rates will go down than go up."

Palim continued: "A more optimistic rate outlook among consumers may signal an expectation that home affordability pressures will ease in 2024. Homeowners have told us repeatedly of late that high mortgage rates are the top reason why it's both a bad time to buy and sell a home, and so a more positive mortgage rate outlook may incent some to list their homes for sale, helping increase the supply of existing homes in the new year. Of course, that's likely dependent on the extent to which mortgage rate expectations are met with actual mortgage rate declines. Like many others, even if rates fall further, we continue to believe that affordability will be tempered in part by elevated home prices, especially for first-time homebuyers, and we expect the pace of home sales improvement to be modest in 2024."

Downloads and Related Links
December 2023 News Release
December 2023 National Housing Survey Data Release  

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