Households May Finally Be Adjusting to Higher Mortgage Rates

BY PR Newswire | AGENCY | 04/08/24 08:30 AM EDT

Survey Shows Greater Optimism Toward Homebuying and Home-Selling Conditions, Even as Pessimism Toward Rates Jumps

(PRNewsfoto/Fannie Mae)

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2024 The Fannie Mae (OTCQB: FNMA)?Home Purchase Sentiment Index? (HPSI) decreased 0.9 points in March to 71.9, its first decline since November 2023, due primarily to increased pessimism about the direction of mortgage rates. Thirty-four percent of consumers now believe that mortgage rates will go up over the next 12 months, up from 32 percent last month and more than the 29 percent who believe rates will decline. Despite the jump in pessimism toward rates, consumer perceptions of both homebuying and home-selling conditions ticked up slightly again in March, and both measures have now risen multiple months in a row. Overall, though, the lack of housing affordability continues to weigh on consumers' belief that it's a "good time to buy" a home, with only 21 percent agreeing with that particular sentiment. The full index is up 10.6 points year over year.

"The HPSI remained relatively flat in March, but we're seeing signs that consumers may be adjusting their expectations for the housing market to better accommodate the higher mortgage rate and home price environment," said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. "Both our 'good time to buy' and 'good time to sell' measures continued their slow upward drift this month. However, consumers took a slightly more pessimistic view on the likely direction of mortgage rates, likely reflecting the fact that actual mortgage rates have moved upward since the start of the year. With the historically low rates of the pandemic era now firmly behind us, some households appear to be moving past the hurdle of last year's sharp jump in rates, an adjustment that we think could help further thaw the housing market. We noted in our latest monthly forecast that we expect to see a gradual increase in home listings and sales transactions in the coming year. We believe this will be driven not only by those coming off the sidelines due to a rate-related recalibration, but also by households who may need to need to move for other life reasons."

Home Purchase Sentiment Index ? Component Highlights

Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in March by 0.9 points to 71.9.?The HPSI is up 10.6 points compared to the same time last year. Read the full research report for additional information.

  • Good/Bad Time to Buy: The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to buy a home increased from 19% to 21%, while the percentage who say it is a bad time to buy decreased from 81% to 79%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to buy increased 4 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 increased from 65% to 66%, while the percentage who say it's a bad time to sell decreased from 35% to 34%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell increased 2 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 42% to 40%, while the percentage who say home prices will go down decreased from 23% to 20%. The share who think home prices will stay the same increased from 34% to 38%. As a result, the net share of those who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased 1 percentage points over month.
  • Mortgage Rate Expectations: The percentage of respondents who say mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months decreased from 35% to 29%, while the percentage who expect mortgage rates to go up increased from 32% to 34%. The share who think mortgage rates will stay the same increased from 32% to 36%. As a result, the net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months decreased 8 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 decreased from 78% to 77%, while the percentage who say they are concerned increased from 22% to 23%. As a result, the net share of those who say they are not concerned about losing their job decreased 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 remained unchanged at 19%, while the percentage who say their household income is significantly lower increased from 11% to 12%. The percentage who say their household income is about the same decreased from 70% to 68%. As a result, the net share of those who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased 2 percentage points month over month.

About Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index
The Home Purchase Sentiment Index? (HPSI) distills information about consumers' home purchase sentiment from Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey? (NHS) into a single number. The HPSI reflects consumers' current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions and complements existing data sources to inform housing-related analysis and decision making. The HPSI is constructed from answers to six NHS questions that solicit consumers' evaluations of housing market conditions and address topics that are related to their home purchase decisions. The questions ask consumers whether they think that it is a good or bad time to buy or to sell a house, what direction they expect home prices and mortgage interest rates to move, how concerned they are about losing their jobs, and whether their incomes are higher than they were a year earlier.

About Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey
The National Housing Survey (NHS) is a monthly attitudinal survey, launched in 2010, which polls the adult general population of the United States to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, purchase and rental prices, household finances, and overall confidence in the economy. Each respondent is asked more than 100 questions, making the NHS one of the most detailed attitudinal longitudinal surveys of its kind, to track attitudinal shifts, six of which are used to construct the HPSI (findings are compared with the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). For more information, please see the Technical Notes.

Fannie Mae conducts this survey and shares monthly and quarterly results so that we may help industry partners and market participants target our collective efforts to support the housing market. The March 2024 National Housing Survey was conducted between March 1, 2024 and March 19, 2024. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. The latest NHS was conducted exclusively through AmeriSpeak?, NORC at the University of Chicago's probability-based panel, on behalf of PSB Insights and in coordination with Fannie Mae. Calculations are made using unrounded and weighted respondent level data to help ensure precision in NHS results from wave to wave. As a result, minor differences in calculated data (summarized results, net calculations, etc.) of up to 1 percentage point may occur due to rounding.

Detailed HPSI & NHS Findings
For detailed findings from the Home Purchase Sentiment Index and National Housing Survey, as well as a brief HPSI overview and detailed white paper, technical notes on the NHS methodology, and questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Surveys page on fanniemae.com. Also available on the site are in-depth special topic studies, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies of NHS results.

To receive e-mail updates with other housing market research from Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group, please click here.

About the ESR Group
Fannie Mae's Economic and Strategic Research Group, led by Chief Economist Doug Duncan, studies current data, analyzes historical and emerging trends, and conducts surveys of consumer and mortgage lender groups to provide forecasts and analyses on the economy, housing, and mortgage markets. The ESR Group was awarded the prestigious 2022 Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Forecast Accuracy based on the accuracy of its macroeconomic forecasts published over the 4-year period from 2018 to 2021.

About Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae advances equitable and sustainable access to homeownership and quality, affordable rental housing for millions of people across America. We enable the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and drive responsible innovation to make homebuying and renting easier, fairer, and more accessible. To learn more, visit:
fanniemae.com | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube | Blog

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Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group or survey respondents included in these materials should not be construed as indicating Fannie Mae's business prospects or expected results, are based on a number of assumptions, and are subject to change without notice. How this information affects Fannie Mae will depend on many factors. Although the ESR Group bases its opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views on information it considers reliable, it does not guarantee that the information provided in these materials is accurate, current, or suitable for any particular purpose. Changes in the assumptions or the information underlying these views could produce materially different results. The analyses, opinions, estimates, forecasts, and other views published by the ESR Group represent the views of that group or survey respondents as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.

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SOURCE Fannie Mae

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