WASHINGTON, DC - Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased 1.7 points to 81.5 in January, with housing affordability constraints reflected in the downward movement of two of the HPSI components. Good Time to Buy figures trended down on net in 2015, declining an additional 4 percentage points in January. The share of consumers who reported that their income was significantly higher than it was 12 months ago fell 3 percentage points after climbing 9 percentage points on net in December.
"Housing affordability is being constrained because the pace of growth in real income has not kept up with gains in real home prices as demand has grown faster than supply," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "On the bright side, consumers have been increasingly positive about their ability to get a mortgage, suggesting that credit tightness is not the main issue limiting housing market activity today, a feeling that we also see conveyed by lenders in our Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey. We expect further progress in the HPSI to be limited until income growth picks up or supply, particularly in lower-priced homes, expands more rapidly."
HOME PURCHASE SENTIMENT INDEX – COMPONENT HIGHLIGHTS
Fannie Mae's January 2016 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) fell 1.7 percentage points in January to 81.5. While four of the six HPSI components decreased in January, Good Time to Sell rose by 1 point and Mortgage Rate net expectations stayed the same at negative 52 percent. Overall, the HPSI is down 1.3 points since this time last year.
The net share of respondents who say that it is a good time to buy a house fell 4 percentage points to 31%. An all-time survey low was equaled as only 61% of respondents say it is a good time to buy a house.
The net percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a house rose 1 percentage point to 9%.
The net share of respondents who say that home prices will go up fell 3 percentage points to 37%.
The net share of those who say mortgage interest rates will go down remained at negative 52% this month.
The net share of respondents who say they are not concerned with losing their job fell 1 percentage point to 71%. An all-time survey high was maintained as 85% of respondents say they are not concerned about losing their job.
The net share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago fell 3 percentage points to 12%.
The Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) distills information about consumers' home purchase sentiment from Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey (NHS) into a single number. The HPSI reflects consumers' current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions and complements existing data sources to inform housing-related analysis and decision making. The HPSI is constructed from answers to six NHS questions that solicit consumers' evaluations of housing market conditions and address topics that are related to their home purchase decisions. The questions ask consumers whether they think that it is a good or bad time to buy or to sell a house, what direction they expect home prices and mortgage interest rates to move, how concerned they are about losing their jobs, and whether their incomes are higher than they were a year earlier.