Consumer confidence in the home-buying and -selling market bounced back from a recent dip, suggesting continued gradual improvement in housing activity. Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI) increased to 83.8 in September, and The HPSI Good Time to Sell component increased 13 points on net, due likely to a strong home price environment coupled with a slight improvement in consumers’ economic outlook. Additionally, the Good Time to Buy component increased 3 points on net as high rental costs may be encouraging more renters to consider homeownership. Although net home price and mortgage rate expectations dipped in September, consumers’ confidence in their employment and financial situations climbed 2 and 3 points, respectively, further suggesting a possible firmer footing for housing.
“The HPSI returned near its record high this month, driven primarily by improvement in attitudes about selling a home and strengthening home prices,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “With consumers’ expectations for rental price increases continuing to outpace their expectations for home price growth, many consumers may view homeownership as a more attractive option. This should have positive implications for the housing market, which remains well below historical norms in relation to housing starts. We noted last week that, despite a relatively dismal jobs report, the addition of 8,000 construction jobs, the biggest gain in four months, may be a sign of grudging progress for the supply side of housing. The September HPSI data, combined with the recent increase in construction jobs, are consistent with our expectation for a continued upward grind in housing.”
Fannie Mae’s September 2015 Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI) increased 3 points to 83.8 in September following a two-month drop. Four of the six component questions posted net positive gains, most notably with Good Time to Sell increasing 13 points compared to August. Home Price and Mortgage Rate net expectations continued to fall, dipping 2 and 1 points, respectively. Overall, the HPSI is up 3.6 points since this time last year.
The share of respondents who says that it is a good time to buy a house rose 1 percentage point to 64 percent, continuing a positive trend since July’s survey low. Those who say it is a good time to sell rose 5 percentage points to 52 percent, tying June’s survey high. The percent of respondents who say it is a bad time to sell decreased to 36 percent, setting a new survey low.
The percent of respondents who says that home prices will go up over the next 12 months fell to 45 percent. The percent who says that home prices will go down remained constant at 9 percent. The share who expect mortgage interest rates to go up in the next 12 months rose 1 percentage point to 55 percent. The share who say mortgage rates will go down remained the same at 5 percent.
The share of respondents who say they are not concerned with losing their job rose to 84 percent, while the share of respondents who say they are concerned with losing their job fell to 15 percent. The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose to 28 percent, while those who say it is significantly lower rose as well to 13 percent.
For more information, visit www.fanniemae.com.