Homebuyers are ready now, sellers aren’t so sure

by Steve Randall09 May 2017

The tight inventory seen in many US markets right now won’t get any relief according to a new measure of buyer and seller sentiment.

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index for April shows an increase of 2.2 percentage points but also reveals disparity between the share of homebuyers who think now is a good time to buy (up 5 percentage points) and the share of home sellers who think now is a good time to sell (down 5 percentage points).

Those changes from the previous month mean that while a net share of 35% of buyers are ready to buy, only a net 26% of sellers are optimistic. However, in March sellers’ sentiment was at an all-time high.

Survey respondents also revealed that there is little expectation that mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months while the net share of those expecting higher home prices rose 1 percentage point to 45%.

"The Home Purchase Sentiment Index returned to its longer-term trend line after reclaiming ground lost last month. This is aligned with our market forecast of about 3 percent sales growth in 2017," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

Consumers are more optimistic about the jobs market and about their own household finances, and Duncan says the overall picture for the housing market is good.

"Historically strong inflation-adjusted house price gains are tempering consumer sentiment, whereas consumer optimism regarding the ease of getting a mortgage reached a survey high. On balance, housing continues on a gradual growth track," he said.


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