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Confidence in housing market reaches highest level in a year – May 8, 2023

By Adam Barnes

Consumers’ belief that mortgage rates will go down elevated confidence in the housing market to its highest level in nearly a year last month, according to data released Monday.

Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index jumped 5.5 points to 66.8 in April, marking the highest monthly gain in two years.
But the full index, which measures confidence in the housing market and the broader economy, was still down by 1.7 percent from a year ago.

However, all six components of Fannie Mae’s survey rose from March, with the largest bump seen in optimism about mortgage rates. The percentage of those surveyed who said mortgage rates would go down in the next 12 months increased by 10 points, to 22 percent.

“An increased number of respondents indicated they think mortgage rates will go down over the next year, a belief that could be due to a combination of factors, including an awareness of decelerating inflation, market suggestions that monetary conditions will ease in the not-too-distant future, and, of course, actual mortgage rate declines during the month,” Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Doug Duncan said in a statement.
Mortgage rates ticked down again last week to 6.39 percent, even as the Federal Reserve voted to raise its interest rate for the 10th consecutive month. At the same time last year, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage stood at 5.27 percent.

Meanwhile, the survey saw a 3-point increase among those who say it’s a good time to buy a home, while the percentage of those surveyed who say it’s a bad time to buy fell 2 points.
Yet consumers remain concerned about the trajectory of home prices, Duncan said, which is the main reason they think it is a bad time to buy a home.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index released last month revealed that prices rose from the previous month by 0.2 percent after seasonal adjustment, while they were up by 2 percent year-over-year.

“Until affordability improves for a larger swath of the homebuying public, we believe home sales will remain subdued compared to previous years,” Duncan concluded.


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