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Consumers may be coming to terms with elevated rates and high home prices: Fannie Mae

Home purchase sentiment index remained mostly flat in June

Consumer confidence in housing may have plateaued, according to the latest home purchase sentiment index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae.

The HPSI — which tracks the housing market and consumer confidence to sell or buy a home — rose a mere 0.4 points to 66 as difficult supply and affordability conditions continue to weigh on the housing market, according to Fannie Mae. The full index is up 1.2 points year over year.

While most of the HPSI’s six components were little changed month over month, survey respondents did report that homebuying conditions improved slightly in June compared to May. 

About 22% of respondents said it is a good time to buy a home in June, up from 19% in the previous month. 

“Confidence in the housing market appears to have plateaued at a relatively low level, suggesting that many consumers may be coming to terms with elevated mortgage rates and high home prices,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae senior vice president and chief economist.

​​The percentage of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months decreased to 36% in June from the previous month’s 39%. About 16% expect mortgage rates to go down in the next 12 months, declining from May’s 19%.

“A larger share of respondents think mortgage rates will stay the same over the next year, whereas mid-to-late last year, most thought rates would continue going up. This seems to signal that consumers are adapting to the idea that higher mortgage rates will likely stick around for the foreseeable future,” Duncan noted.

Even so, about 78% believe it’s a bad time to buy a home – continuing a trend of pessimism towards buying since mid 2021. 

Fannie Mae expects ongoing affordability constraints and lack of housing supply are projected to slow down home sales in the second half of the year. 

The new home sales market, which has been increasing steadily over the past three months, is a silver lining in the sluggish housing market

Housing starts rose 21.7% in May from April and sales of new homes increased 12.2% during the same period.

The Mortgage Bankers Association expects the total existing home sales to decline to 4.3 million in 2023 from last year’s 5.1 million while new home sales to rise to 676,000 from the previous year’s 641,000.

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