In the cold light of winter. concerns about affordability are cooling potential buyers, according to the latest Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae.
Fevers consumers believe this is a “Good Time to Buy”; figures trended down for the year in 2015 and declined 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. Altogether, the index decreased 1.7 points to 81.5 in January.
“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.”
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.