Real Estate

Nine Out Of 10 Americans Agree: May Was A Bad Time To Buy A Home

Elevated mortgage rates and home prices are creating challenges for many homebuyers, and 86% said May was a bad time to buy — a new high in Fannie Mae surveys dating to 2010.

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Almost nine in 10 Americans polled by mortgage giant Fannie Mae said May was a bad time to buy — a new high in survey records dating to 2010.

Fannie Mae’s monthly National Housing Survey also found that nearly two-thirds of household financial decision makers thought it was a good time to sell.

But elevated mortgage rates and home prices are creating affordability challenges for many homebuyers, and many have given up hope that they’ll come down in the next year, said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan.

Doug Duncan

“While many respondents expressed optimism at the beginning of the year that mortgage rates would decline, that simply hasn’t happened, and current sentiment reflects pent-up frustration with the overall lack of purchase affordability,” Duncan said, in a statement. “This is most clearly evidenced by our ‘good time to buy’ component falling to a new survey low this month.”

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, May 2024.

Only 14 percent of those polled in May said it was a good time to buy, down from 20 percent in April, tying a survey low last seen in November 2023. With the percentage who said May was a bad time to buy increasing from 79 percent to a new survey record 86 percent, the net share who said May was a good time to buy fell 13 percentage points from April to May, to -72 percent, a survey low.

“On the other hand, homeowners’ perception of home-selling conditions declined only slightly and remains largely positive after a steady increase over the last few months,” Duncan said. “This suggests to us that, despite the so-called ‘lock-in effect,’ some homeowners may increasingly want or need to sell their homes for a myriad of non-financial reasons, which may lead to an increase in listings in the near future.”

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, May 2024.

While 64 percent of those polled in May said it was a good time to sell, that’s down from 67 percent in April — which was the highest level in nearly 2 years.

With the percentage who said it’s a bad time to sell increasing from 32 percent to 35 percent, the net share of those who said May was a good time to sell decreased 6 percentage from April, to 29 percent.

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, May 2024.

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), which distills six questions from the National Housing Survey into a single number, decreased 2.5 points from April to May, to 69.4. While that’s up 3.8 points from a year ago, the index was often above 90 before the pandemic.

The HPSI plunged at the outset of the pandemic, rebounded when low mortgage rates boosted sales, and then began to deteriorate again when mortgage rates started heading back up in 2022. The HPSI hit an all time low of 56.7 in October 2022.

Three of six HPSI components decreased in May — buying conditions, selling conditions, and job loss concerns — while two components improved: change in household income and home price outlook. Consumers’ mortgage rate outlook remained unchanged from April to May.

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, May 2024.

The net share of consumers who said home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased 2 percentage points from April to May, to 25 percent. More than eight in 10 of those polled expected home prices would either go up (42 percent) or remain the same (40 percent). Only 18 percent said they expected home prices to go down in the next 12 months.

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, May 2024.

Although 25 percent of those polled in May said they expected mortgage rates to go down in the next 12 months, that’s down from 26 percent in April. With the percentage who expected mortgage rates to go up also decreasing to 31 percent, the net share of those who think mortgage rates will go down remained unchanged at -6 percent.

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