According to the latest Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI), only 35% of consumers believe now is a good time to buy a home. The HPSI increased by 1.0 points in May to a reading of 80.0. Four of the six HPSI’s components increased month-over-month, most notably the components related to personal finance, as consumers reported a much greater sense of job security and improved household income compared to the same time last year. However, for the second consecutive month, consumers also reported a significantly more pessimistic view of homebuying conditions; on net, that component fell to an all-time survey low, with only 35% of respondents believing it’s a good time to buy a home, down from 53% in March. Year-over-year, the HPSI is up 12.5 points.
In a statement prepared for the release of the May HPSI, Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s Senior VP and Chief Economist said, “The HPSI remained relatively flat in May, although some of its underlying components shifted significantly, with consumers feeling substantially more positive about their jobs and income, while at the same time showing even greater pessimism about homebuying conditions compared to last month. The ‘good time to buy’ component fell further — hitting another all-time survey low — as consumers appear to be acutely aware of higher home prices and the low supply of homes, the two reasons cited most frequently for that particular sentiment. However, despite the challenging buying conditions, consumers do appear more intent to purchase on their next move, a preference that may be supported by the expectation of continued low mortgage rates, as well as the elevated savings rate during the pandemic, which may have allowed many to afford a down payment.”
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Consumer Perception of Homebuying Conditions Worsens as Affordability and Supply Issues Persist