February 4, 2023

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Seller Optimism Has Never Been This High

Survey: 8 out of 10 consumers (77%) say it’s a good time to sell a home. Buyers, however, aren’t quite as pumped: 2 out of 3 (64%) say it’s a bad time to buy a home.

WASHINGTON – Almost eight out of 10 U.S. consumers (77%) say it’s a good time to sell a home – a record high, according to Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index.

Sellers have plenty of reason to feel so upbeat: Existing-home sales prices were at a record high in May and up nearly 24% compared to a year earlier ($350,300), according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Those higher home prices translate into greater equity for home sellers. In the first quarter of 2021, the average homeowner saw their equity climb nearly 20% over the past year, gaining about $33,400, according to a report from CoreLogic.

On the other hand, homebuyers aren’t feeling as good about the housing market: 64% of consumers say it’s a bad time to buy a home, up from 56% the previous month – also a record high, Fannie Mae reports.

The “buy and sell components continued to diverge,” Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist, said about the latest consumer sentiment index readings. “Consumers also continued to cite high home prices as the predominant reason for their ongoing and significant divergence in sentiment toward homebuying and home selling conditions.”

Renters planning to purchase a home in the next few years have demonstrated the steepest decline in homebuying sentiment, Duncan adds. “It’s likely that affordability concerns are more greatly affecting those who aspire to be first-time homeowners than other consumer sentiments who have already established homeownership,” Duncan says.

Despite the pessimism over buying, “We expect demand for housing to persist at an elevated level through the rest of the year,” Duncan says. “Mortgage rates remain not too far from their historical lows, and consumers are expressing even greater confidence about their household income and job situation compared to this time last year, when the pandemic had shut down wide swaths of the economy.”

Highlights from Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index

  • 77% of consumers said it’s a good time to sell, up from 67% last month; 15% said it’s a bad time to sell.
  • 64% said it’s a bad time to buy, up from 56% last month; 32% said it’s a good time to buy.
  • 48% of respondents said they expect home prices to rise over the next 12 months, up from 47% last month.
  • 57% of respondents expect mortgage rates to go up over the next 12 months, up from 49% last month; 30% expect mortgage rates to stay the same; 6% expect rates to decrease.
  • 88% of consumers aren’t concerned about losing their job over the next 12 months, up slightly from 87% last month.
  • 27% of respondents say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, a drop from 29% last month; 56% say their household income is about the same, and 13% say their household income is significantly lower.

Source: “Consumers Increasingly Adamant That It’s a Good Time to Sell, Bad Time to Buy a Home,” Fannie Mae (July 7, 2021)

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