Fannie Mae does a National Housing Survey (NHS) on a monthly basis to essentially take the nation’s temperature regarding attitudes that relate to owning/renting a home. It is considered to be the most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind.
The NHS asks respondents to indicate their answers to 100 questions relating to the housing market. The questions focus on home and rental price changes, the economy, household finances, home ownership distress, etc.
Fannie Mae then culls those 100 questions/answers down to 6 to get to its Home Purchase Sentiment Index.
For the first time since May 2018, the monthly Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) registered an increase of +1.5 points for a total of 88.0 points in August 2018. In other words, housing consumers indicated more “comfort-ability” with the housing market than it has since May of this year.
Analysts with Fannie Mae attribute this increased positive sentiment to increased positivity concerning jobs and income related components rather than the housing market itself.
80% of Index respondents indicated they were not concerned about losing their jobs. (Not worrying about losing one’s job is a big thing!)This is an increase of +15%, a big turnaround from July. 22% of Index respondents, up 1% from July, indicated that their income was significantly higher in 20198 than it was in 2017. The term “significantly higher” was not defined.
Is now a good time to buy a house? 21% said no in August; 18% said no in July.
Is now a good time to sell a home? 38% said no in August; 35% said no in July.
38% of respondents indicated that home prices would go up in the next 12 months, a decrease of 1% in July.
And, 51%, unchanged from July, indicated that mortgage interest rates would go down in the next 12 months.
According to Doug Duncan, chief economist and senior vice president with Fannie Mae, “Consumers are attuned to the divergence between the slowing housing market and the strong macro economy. Consumers were less optimistic (in August) about both home-buying and home-selling conditions while their perceptions of income growth and confidence around job security are at survey highs. “
Specific to the housing market, Duncan said, as does every other housing expert, “After years of robust price growth outpacing income growth, consumers face signification housing affordability challenges particularly at the low end of the market.”