Homeowners who have decided to stay put in their current properties may soon be ready for a move, helping to relieve stubbornly tight housing inventory. The evidence is in Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index, in which the number of consumers who say now is a good time to sell a home neared an all-time high. The index—which is a measure of about 1,000 consumers’ attitudes toward housing—rose 1.2 points in August to a reading of 88, reflecting a year-over-year jump of 21 percentage points in the number of consumers who looked favorably on selling. The August reading is just shy of the index’s record high of 88.3, set in July.
Meanwhile, the number of consumers who say now is a good time to buy dropped 5 percentage points in August to a new survey low for the second consecutive month. The number of those who look favorably on buying is down 16 percentage points year over year, Fannie Mae reports.
“In the early stages of the economic expansion, homeselling sentiment trailed homebuying sentiment by a significant margin. The reverse is true today,” says Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan. “The net ‘good time to sell’ share is now double the net ‘good time to buy’ share, with record-high percentages of consumers citing home prices as the primary reason for both perceptions. Such a sizable gap between selling and buying sentiment, if it persists, could weigh on the housing market through the rest of the year.”
Here are some additional findings from Fannie Mae’s August sentiment index reading:
- 36 percent: Consumers who say now is a good time to sell, an uptick of 8 percentage points from July.
- 18 percent: Consumers who say now is a good time to buy a home, a new survey low.
- 48 percent: Americans who say home prices will rise, up 1 percentage point month over month.
- 74 percent: Consumers who say they are not concerned about losing their job, a 1 percentage point drop in August.
- 16 percent: Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, unchanged from July.