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Fannie Mae: Sellers still thriving as home prices stay high

Nearly half of survey respondents believe home prices will keep rising

Sellers, rejoice. Roughly 77% of respondents to Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), a composite index designed to track the housing market and consumer confidence to sell or buy a home, said now is a good time to sell. That’s up from 67% the prior month.

To boot, a reported 64% of survey respondents said it’s a bad time to buy a home, up from 56% last month.

Overall, the HSPI decreased by 0.3 points to 79.7 in June 2021. Year over year, the overall index is up 3.2%.

The percentage of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased one percentage point to 48%, and the percentage who say home prices will go down also increased to 21%.

One group that continues to feel the pain of high home prices is first-time homebuyers — even with mortgage rates remaining at historically low levels, said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist. However, low inventory remains an issue, and homes are still being snatched up as soon as they hit the market, he said.

“It’s likely that affordability concerns are more greatly affecting those who aspire to be first-time homeowners than other consumer segments who have already established homeownership,” Duncan said. “But despite the pessimism in homebuying conditions, we expect demand for housing to persist at an elevated level through the rest of the year.”

Within the past almost three months, the aforementioned mortgage rates have only peaked above 3% one time, coming in at 2.98% in the most recent Mortgage Bankers Association report. The percentage of respondents who believe mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months remained unchanged at 6%, and the percentage who expect mortgage rates to go up increased from 49% to 57%. The share who think mortgage rates will stay the same decreased from 38% to 30%.

“Economic growth remains steady and is bolstering more segments of the economy,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Although low and stable mortgage rates have kept the housing market booming over recent months, a deterioration in affordability and for-sale inventory has led to a market slowdown.”

In looking at employment, the percentage of respondents who say they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months increased to 88%, while the percentage who say they are concerned with losing their job decreased to only 11%. The percentage of Fannie Mae survey respondents who say their household income is the same from one year ago increased, from 54% to 56%

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