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Homebuying Sentiment Turns Net Negative

A serious dearth of inventory is making the prospect of home shopping and homebuying too daunting for a majority of Americans today, according to Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey [1]. In fact, consumers' pessimism toward homebuying conditions in April set a survey record.

"The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index [1] decreased in April by 2.7 points to 79.0. Four of the HPSI’s six components decreased month over month, most notably the component related to homebuying conditions, which turned net negative for the first time in the survey’s history," according to a press release from Fannie Mae. [2]

Consumers continued to show optimism when it comes to selling a home, a component that continued its significant rise from this time one year ago. Home-selling sentiment has nearly returned to its pre-pandemic peak, rising 16.0 points year-over-year.

"April’s HPSI reading appears to have been acutely impacted by the ongoing lack of housing supply despite improving economic conditions,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist. “Consumer sentiment toward buying homes reached the lowest level in our survey’s ten-year history; unsurprisingly, respondents overwhelmingly cited the lack of supply and high home prices as primary reasons for their pessimism. The decrease in homebuying sentiment likely indicates that some consumers, potentially flush with savings—perhaps boosted in part by stimulus payments—may be attempting, but failing, to buy a home due to heightened competition for relatively few listed homes. Notably, consumers in the household income range of $50,000 to $100,000, a range inclusive of the Census Bureau’s reported median household income level, showed a particularly large decrease in overall housing sentiment, and we know that the housing market serving the affordable segment has been particularly competitive.”

Duncan continued, "Conversely, consumer positivity regarding home-selling conditions nearly matched its all-time high, demonstrating a large divergence in perceived conditions between sellers and buyers, as measured by the gap between the two components. As has become standard discourse in the housing industry recently, increasing the supply of homes for sale would certainly help bring balance to this strong seller’s market, but unfortunately, the most recent data doesn’t suggest that inventory is likely to improve in the near future."

The full report is available at FannieMae.com.  [1]