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Consumers Continue to Express Pessimism About Homebuying Conditions

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased 0.8 points in August to 62.0, the sixth consecutive monthly decline of the index, according to their latest report. Surveyed consumers continue to express pessimism about homebuying conditions, especially in the home-selling segment of the housing market. 

Despite the minute change in the index, four of the six major components which make up the HPSI experienced significant volatility resulting in the HPSI dropping 13.7 points year-over-year. 

On a monthly basis, consumers indicated via the survey that home-selling conditions have worsened over the last month dropping from 67% to 59% of respondents who believe now is a good time to sell. 

According to Fannie Mae, consumers also reported that homebuying conditions have improved since last month increasing from 17% to 22%, but on the future of home prices, consumers report mixed sentiments with the majority of consumers believing that mortgage rates will go up over the next year. 

“The share of consumers expecting home prices to go down over the next year increased substantially in August. Accompanying this, HPSI respondents reported a significant decrease in home-selling sentiment,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s SVP and Chief Economist. “We also observed a large decline in consumers reporting high home prices as the primary reason for it being a good time to sell a home, suggesting that expectations of slowing or declining home prices have begun to negatively affect selling sentiment.” 

“Conversely, lower home prices would obviously be welcome news for potential first-time homebuyers, who are likely feeling the combined affordability constraints of the high home price and high mortgage rate environment. In fact, the survey’s ‘ease of getting a mortgage’ component dropped to an all-time low among this typically younger demographic (i.e., 18- to 34-year-olds).” 

“With home prices expected to moderate over the forecast horizon and economic uncertainty heightened, both homebuyers and home-sellers may be incentivized to remain on the sidelines—homebuyers anticipating home price declines and potential home-sellers not keen to give up their lower, fixed mortgage rate—contributing to a further cooling in home sales through the end of the year,” Duncan concluded. 

Additional findings on the six major components of the HPSI include: 

  • Good/Bad Time to Buy: The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to buy a home increased from 17% to 22%, while the percentage who say it is a bad time to buy decreased from 76% to 73%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to buy increased 8 percentage points month-over-month. 
  • Good/Bad Time to Sell: The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home decreased from 67% to 59%, while the percentage who say it’s a bad time to sell increased from 27% to 35%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell decreased 16 percentage points month-over-month. 
  • Home Price Expectations: The percentage of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months decreased from 39% to 33%, while the percentage who say home prices will go down increased from 30% to 33%. The share who think home prices will stay the same increased from 26% to 28%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say home prices will go up decreased 9 percentage points month-over-month. 
  • Mortgage Rate Expectations: The percentage of respondents who say mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months increased from 6% to 11%, while the percentage who expect mortgage rates to go up decreased from 67% to 61%. The share who think mortgage rates will stay the same increased from 21% to 25%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months increased 11 percentage points month-over-month. 
  • Job Loss Concern: The percentage of respondents who say they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months increased from 78% to 79%, while the percentage who say they are concerned decreased from 22% to 21%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job increased 2 percentage points month-over-month. 
  • Household Income: The percentage of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago increased from 24% to 25%, while the percentage who say their household income is significantly lower increased from 13% to 15%. The percentage who say their household income is about the same decreased from 61% to 59%. As a result, the net share of those who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased 1 percentage point month-over-month. 

About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle Horst
Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at [email protected]
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