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National Housing Survey/Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI)

Housing Sentiment Continues to Strengthen, but High Home Prices Complicate Consumer Purchase Confidence

June 7, 2018

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) rose 0.6 points in May to 92.3, reaching a new all-time survey high for the second consecutive month. However, consumer attitudes about buying and selling a home have continued to diverge as home prices have increased. While the net share of respondents who reported that now is a good time to sell a home increased to 46 percent in May, and is now up 14 percentage points year over year, the net share who said now is a good time to buy a home decreased to 28 percent, showing little improvement year over year. Meanwhile, the net share of consumers who said home prices will go up in the next 12 months remained unchanged at 49 percent, while the net share who expect mortgage rates to go down over the next 12 months fell 1 percentage point. In addition, more Americans reported improved job confidence in May and an increase in household income over the past 12 months. However, our National Housing Survey® results also showed that the share of consumers who expect their personal financial situation to improve within the next year fell 6 percentage points to 48 percent, and those who expect it to stay the same rose 6 percentage points to 40 percent.

“The HPSI edged up to another survey high in May, bolstered in part by a fresh record high in the net share of consumers who say it’s a good time to sell a home. However, the perception of high home prices that underlies this optimism cuts both ways, boosting not only the good-time-to-sell sentiment but also the view that it’s a bad time to buy, and presenting a potential dilemma for repeat buyers,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “For the survey’s renter respondents, who are unable to reap benefits from selling a home, the HPSI has been essentially flat in the first quarter, during which home sales were also lackluster. According to our latest Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey®, which we expect to release on Tuesday, lenders expect mortgage demand to soften in the near term.”

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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