Consumer homebuying sentiment has plateaued at “pe…

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Seven out of 10 Americans polled by Fannie Mae last month said that if they had to move they would rather buy than rent, but a record high 82 percent also said August was a bad time to buy.

Last month’s National Housing Survey, a telephone survey of 1,000 homeowners and renters that Fannie Mae’s been conducting since 2010, showed consumer sentiment about housing markets has plateaued at a low level, Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said.

“Mortgage rates once again breached the 7 percent mark in August, hitting a 22-year high and doing no favors for consumer sentiment,” Duncan said in a statement Thursday. “Consumers remain pessimistic toward the housing market in general and homebuying conditions in particular.”

Fannie Mae takes six questions from the National Housing Survey and distills them into a single number, the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI).

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, August 2023.

The HPSI trended up slightly from July to August, rising 0.1 points to 66.9, and is up 4.9 points from the same time a year ago. But the index was well above 90 before the pandemic and is only 10.2 points higher than an all-time low of 56.7 set last October.

Duncan said Fannie Mae economists “don’t see much upside to the index in the near future, barring significant improvements to home affordability, which we also don’t expect.”

Three of the HPSI’s six components increased from July to August. Consumers thought conditions for sellers had improved somewhat, and they were a little less convinced that mortgage rates will continue to rise over the next 12 months. In…

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