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Homebuyers Optimistic Despite Affordability Fears

HousingOn Monday, Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) showed little change since September, dropping slightly from 88 to 87.7. Three of the six major factors used to assess the index dropped overall, including sentiment toward the mortgage rate and U.S. household income. The net share of those who felt less secure in their jobs since last month dropped slightly, by 1 percent, while the share of those expecting mortgage rates to decrease over the next year also dropped 4 percentage points. The total number of those who believe home prices will only increase went up 1 percent, which itself reflects the actual increase in home costs nationwide, Fannie Mae said.

The total number of Americans who said it was a good time to sell a home remains the same, however, while the net share of those who believe the housing market toward buyers rose 5 percentage points. Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae, stated that the numbers chiefly reflected concerns among homebuyers about rising mortgage rates and rising home prices. “The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased for the second consecutive month, which is up 4.63 percent and has reached the highest level since May 2011,” Duncan said.

The HPSI also indicated that the net share of Americans who said that now was a good time to buy rose 5 percentage points from September to 26 percent. It also revealed that the net share of Americans who said they would buy if they were going to move fell 1 percentage point to 66 percent and the share who said they would rent rose 2 percentage points to 30 percent.

The Federal Open Market Committee’s interest rate projections for members indicates that there will likely be four additional rate increases before 2019 reaches its end. But downside risk appears buffered by the strength of the U.S. economy overall. The HPSI’s latest numbers reaffirm this general optimism, with those who responded with a belief that the current market favors buyers also indicating a belief that the economy is doing well.

The new HPSI numbers by Fannie Mae can be found here.

About Author: J S Khan

J S Khan is a contributing writer for DS News and MReport. He is a graduate of Emerson College's MFA program in Creative Writing and publishes fiction on the side.

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