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A Seller’s Market? Consumers Express Diverging Sentiment on Home Buying and Selling in May

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased 0.5 percentage points in May to 86.2. The slight decrease can be attributed to decreases in three of the six HPSI components being larger on net than the three increases.

The net share of Americans who reported that now is a good time to buy a home reached a record low after falling 8 percentage points, while the net share who reported that now is a good time to sell a home reached a record high, increasing 6 percentage points.

This is only the second time in the survey’s history that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed the net share of those saying it’s a good time to buy. Americans also expressed greater belief that mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months, with that component increasing 5 percentage points. Finally, the net share of consumers who think home prices will go up fell by 5 percentage points this month.

“High home prices have led many consumers to give us the first clear indication we’ve seen in the National Housing Survey’s seven-year history that they think it’s now a seller’s market,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “However, we continue to see a lack of housing supply as many potential sellers are unwilling or unable to put their homes on the market, perhaps due in part to concerns over finding an affordable replacement home. Prospective homebuyers are likely to face continued home price increases as long as housing supply remains tight.”

Home Purchase Sentiment Index – Component Highlights

Fannie Mae’s 2017 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in May by 0.5 percentage points to 86.2. The HPSI is up 0.9 percentage points compared with the same time last year.

  • The net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home fell 8 percentage points to 27%, reaching a new survey low
  • The net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell increased by 6 percentage points to 32%, rising from last month’s decline to a new survey high.
  • The net share of Americans who say that home prices will go up decreased by 5 percentage points in May to 40%.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next twelve months rose 5 percentage points to -52%, following the trend from last month.
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job fell 6 percentage points to 71%, back near the level seen in March.
  • The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 5 percentage points to 18% in May.

To learn more, visit fanniemae.com.

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