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Affordability Aside, Housing Optimism Picks Up

The confidence consumers have in housing is picking up steam—but not because of the market outright, according to the August Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI). At 88, the gauge grew 1.5 percentage points month-over-month; however, the confidence consumers have is on par with the prior year, and they are more keen on macro movements than real estate. In fact, 21 percent of homebuyers were optimistic about purchasing, and 38 percent of homeowners were optimistic about selling—each three-percentage point decreases from July.

“Consumers are attuned to the divergence between the slowing housing market and strong macro economy,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist and senior vice president at Fannie Mae. “Consumers were less optimistic [in August] about both home-buying and home-selling conditions, while perceptions of income growth and confidence about job security are at survey highs. After years of robust home price growth outpacing income growth, consumers face significant housing affordability challenges at the low end of the market.”

The HPSI is derived from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey® (NHS).

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