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Fannie Mae: Confidence in housing falls in February

Reverses last month’s increase

Americans’ confidence in housing fell slightly in February, reversing gains from the previous month, according to Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index.

The index fell 3.7 points in February to 85.8, reversing last month’s increase of 3.7 points to 89.5. This decrease is due to a fall in five of the six HPSI components.

The share of Americans who say now is a good time to buy a home decreased five percentage points from January to 22%. The net share of those who reported that now is a good time to sell a home decreased two percentage points to 36%.

“Volatility in consumer housing sentiment continued into February, with the new tax law beginning to impact respondents’ take-home pay and the stock market creating negative headlines due to early-month turbulence,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae senior vice president and chief economist.

The net share of Americans who said home prices will go up in the next 12 months decreased seven percentage points to 45%, and the share who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months also decreased seven percentage points to -57%.

Americans are also growing more concerned about the job market as the share who said they are not concerned about loosing their job decreased two percentage points to 71%. But the share who said their income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago increased one percentage point to 17% while those who said it was significantly lower fell two percentage points to 9%, matching a survey low seen in February 2017.

“Additionally, consumers’ expectations for higher mortgage rates suggest that consumers expect the Fed to hike rates a few more times in 2018,” Duncan said. “We will continue to track how consumer housing attitudes trend in the coming months as these various market forces play out.”

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