Home Purchase Sentiment Index Increases to 82.7 in February: Fewer Consumers Expect Home Price Gains

Mar 07, 2016, 08:30 ET from Fannie Mae

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI) increased 1.2 points to 82.7 in February. The net share of consumers who think home prices will go up over the next 12 months posted the biggest drop among HPSI components, declining 4 percentage points and continuing the downward trend from January. The largest HPSI component increases on net in February were consumers' confidence about not losing their job and the share of those saying now is a good time to buy a home, which both rose 4 percentage points.

"Our February results show the most modest consumer home price expectations since late 2012," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "For consumers who think it's a bad time to buy a home, whose share has trended up from its recent low last November, high home prices have been an increasingly contributing factor. A slower pace of home price appreciation may provide some relief for potential homebuyers, especially first-time buyers who couldn't reap the benefits of selling a home at high prices to buy another one."

HOME PURCHASE SENTIMENT INDEX – COMPONENT HIGHLIGHTS
Fannie Mae's February 2016 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) rose 1.2 percentage points in February to 82.7. More consumers reported Household Income growth in February compared to January, and fewer consumers expect Mortgage Rates to go up over the next 12 months. Overall, the HPSI is up 1.2 points since this time last year.

  • The net share of respondents who say that it is a good time to buy a house rose 4 percentage points to 35%. Rebounding from last month's all-time survey low, 63% of respondents now say it is a good time to buy a house.
  • The net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell a house fell 2 percentage points to 7%.
  • The net share of respondents who say that home prices will go up fell 4 percentage points to 33%.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage interest rates will go down rose 2 percentage points to negative 50% this month, as fewer consumers say mortgage rates will go up.
  • The net share of respondents who say they are not concerned with losing their job rose 4 percentage points to 75%. A new all-time survey high was reached as 87% of respondents say they are not concerned about losing their job.
  • The net share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 3 percentage points to 15%.

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 most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey (NHS) polled 1,000 Americans via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence. Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used 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). As cell phones have become common and many households no longer have landline phones, the NHS contacts 60 percent of respondents via their cell phones (as of October 2014). To reflect the growing share of households with a cell phone but no landline, the National Housing Survey has increased its cell phone dialing rate to 60 percent as of October 2014. 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 stabilize the housing market in the near-term, and provide support in the future. The February 2016 National Housing Survey was conducted between February 1, 2016 and February 26, 2016. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.

DETAILED HPSI & NHS FINDINGS
For detailed findings from the February 2016 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 Consumer Attitude Measures page on fanniemae.com. Also available on the site are in-depth topic analyses, 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.

Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group 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 as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.

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