Most Popular Searches

Consumer housing sentiment continues to cool, despite post-election economic confidence

January 16, 2017 | By

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased in December 2016 for the fifth consecutive month, dipping 0.5 points to 80.7.

The six components that comprise the HPSI showed mixed results in December. The net shares of consumers expecting mortgage rates to go down over the next 12 months and those who believe their household income is significantly higher today compared to year-ago levels fell four and five percentage points, respectively.

However, the net share of Americans who say it’s a good time to buy a house rose by two percentage points, and the net share of consumers reporting confidence in not losing their job rose four percentage points.

Both the net percentage of those who believe it is a good time to sell and the net share who believe that home prices will go up remained unchanged in December.

Read more: Fannie Mae Index Reveals Consumers’ Homebuying Sentiment, Helps Forecast Housing Markets

Rates on the Rise

“Despite the post-election bump in general consumer attitudes, a rapid rise in mortgage rate expectations has tamped down home purchase sentiment, at least in the near term. A spike in economic optimism in the immediate aftermath of an election is typical. Whether consumers will sustain this level of optimism into 2017 remains unclear,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

“The spike in interest rates reflects, in part, the market’s anticipation of pro-growth policies from the incoming administration. If this optimism comes to fruition, it should translate into stronger income growth and increased job security for consumers – the two HPSI components that could help support housing sentiment this year,” he adds.

Read more: New Monthly Index Is All About Housing

Report Highlights

  • The net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a house rose by two percentage points to 32 percent.
  • The net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell was unchanged from the prior month at 13 percent. The share who think it is a bad time to sell was also unchanged at 38 percent.
  • The net share of Americans who say that home prices will go up remained constant in December at 35 percent.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months fell four percentage points to -55 percent.
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job rose four percentage points to 68 percent.
  • The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago fell five percentage points to 10 percent in December, reversing some of the increase seen in November.

For detailed findings from the December 2016 Home Purchase Sentiment Index and National Housing Survey (NHS), as well as a brief HPSI overview and detailed white paper, technical notes on the NHS methodology, and questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Surveys page on Also available on the site are in-depth special topic studies, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies of NHS results.

Estimates, forecasts, and other views expressed in this article should not be construed as indicating Fannie Mae’s expected results, are based on a number of assumptions, and may change without notice. How this information affects Fannie Mae will depend on many factors. Neither Fannie Mae nor its Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group guarantees that the information in this article is accurate, current, or suitable for any particular purpose. Changes in the assumptions or underlying information could produce materially different results. The ESR Group’s views expressed in this article speak only as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.




We appreciate and encourage lively discussions on our websites’ content. While we value openness and diverse points of view, all comments should be appropriate for people of all ages and backgrounds. We do not tolerate and will remove any comment that does not meet standards of decency and respect, including, but not limited to, posts that:

  • are indecent, hateful, obscene, defamatory, vulgar, threatening, libelous, profane, harassing, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate
  • contain terms that are offensive to any group based on gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation
  • promote or endorse a product, service, or vendor
  • are excessively repetitive, constitute “SPAM” or solicitation, or otherwise prevent a constructive dialogue for others
  • are factually erroneous or misleading
  • threaten the privacy rights of another person
  • infringe on intellectual property and proprietary rights of another, or the publication of which would violate the same
  • violate any laws or regulations

We reserve complete discretion to block or remove comments, or disable access privilege to users who do not comply with this policy. The fact that a comment is left on our website does not indicate Fannie Mae’s endorsement or support for the content of the comment.

Fannie Mae does not commit to reviewing all information and materials submitted by users of the website for consideration or publication by Fannie Mae (“User Generated Contents”). Personal information contained in User Generated Contents is subject to Fannie Mae’s Privacy Statement available here. Fannie Mae shall have otherwise no liability or obligation with respect to User Generated Contents and may freely copy, adapt, distribute, publish, or otherwise use User Generated Contents without any duty to account.

A Window Into Housing In America

Subscribe to our newsletter for each week's top stories. Enter your email address below to stay in the know.