Housing market confidence is high; will it stay there?

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Consumers feel good about the state of housing

Confidence in the housing market remains near an all-time high. According to new data, consumers are especially optimistic about mortgage rates and home prices.

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Positive about their prospects

According to the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae, consumers are feeling pretty good about their housing prospects.

They’re particularly optimistic about mortgage rates. The share of consumers who think mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months is up 24 percentage points since this time last year.

Consumers also have high hopes for home prices. The number of Americans who expect prices to go up over the next year is down, decreasing 3 percentage points since last month and 8 points since 2018.

Home price growth drops for the 12th consecutive month

All in all, about half of consumers say it’s a good time to sell a house, while one in four say it’s a good time to buy.

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The feeling isn’t mutual

It’s not good news all across the board, though. According to Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist, sentiments vary greatly by locale.

“Regional variations in housing optimism appear to be tied to a divergence in housing affordability,” he said. “For example, home purchase sentiment is higher in the Midwest and South than in the West and, to a lesser extent, the Northeast, where the lack of entry-level inventory and the resultant strong price appreciation has had a more profound impact on affordability.”

Still, with mortgage rates low — and expected to stay there — it could help even those higher-priced regions down the line.

“With fewer consumers expecting rates to jump back up, thereby creating less urgency to buy now, we expect housing market activity to remain stable,” Duncan said.

Bidding wars are down, but will the trend continue?

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