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National Housing Survey/Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI)

Housing Confidence Down as More Americans Believe It's a Bad Time to Buy a Home

January 7, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased in December, falling 2.7 points to 83.5, resuming its recent downward trend after November’s slight uptick. The decrease can be attributed primarily to a 12-percentage point decrease in the net share of Americans who said it is a good time to buy a home. The net share of Americans who said it is a good time to sell a home increased 1 percentage point. Respondents reporting significantly higher income over the past twelve months fell 5 percentage points on net, erasing last month’s gains, while the net share expressing greater job confidence increased 2 percentage points. Finally, the net share of respondents who expect home prices to go up fell 2 percentage points, and the net share who expect mortgage rates to go down remained unchanged.

"Consumer attitudes regarding whether it's a good time to buy a home worsened significantly in the last month, as well as from a year ago, to a survey low," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "Although home price growth slowed in 2018, the cumulative impact of sustained, robust increases in home prices outpacing income growth likely helped drive the share of consumers citing high home prices as a primary reason for a bad time to buy a home to a survey high. Meanwhile, consumers' views on the direction of the economy, a key support for housing market sentiment of late, has softened somewhat from its October high. Looking ahead, consumers expect the pace of home price growth to slow over the course of 2019, which may temper growing concern over housing affordability."

On this webpage you will find a news release with highlights from the HPSI and NHS 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 NHS 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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