As Inventory Improves, Consumer Confidence Inches Up

An image of a hand holding five different houses

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The housing market is showing some sings of cooling, which may be making more home buyers more optimistic in a competitive market. Thirty-two percent of consumers said in August it’s a good time to buy, up from 28% in July, according to Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey, a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults. That marks the first sign of progress in home buyer sentiment since March.

However, 63% of consumers still say it’s a difficult time to buy. Higher home prices and scant housing stock have had consumers concerned about the housing market. Bidding wars have become frustrating to those who keep losing out.

Mark Palm, Fannie Mae’s vice president and deputy chief economist, said the increase in the “good time to buy” survey’s component is likely to be a reflection of the favorable mortgage rate environment and the growing expectation that home price growth will begin to moderate over the next year.

Also, new listings increased 5% in the 50 largest metros, which could be opening more options to home buyers, according to®’s newly released Monthly Housing Report. “Low mortgage rates have motivated home buyers to endure this year’s challenging market and now some buyers are starting to see their persistence pay off,” said Danielle Hale,®’s chief economist. “This month, new sellers added more affordable entry-level homes to the market compared to last year, while others began adjusting listing prices to better compete with an uptick in inventory.”

Meanwhile, sellers are still profiting from the hot housing market. Seventy-three percent of consumers surveyed by Fannie Mae said it’s a good time to sell. They’re seeing higher home appreciation: Median existing-home prices climbed nearly 18% in July over the past year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Here’s a closer look at findings from Fannie Mae’s latest National Housing Survey, reflecting August data:

  • 32% of consumers say it’s a good time to buy a home, up from 28% in July.
  • 73% of consumers say it’s a good time to sell, down from 75% last month.
  • 40% of consumers believe home prices will rise over the next 12 years, down from 46%.
  • 53% of consumers believe mortgage rates will decrease over the next year, down from 57%.
  • 82% of consumers say they are not concerned about losing their job over the next year, down from 84%.
  • 26% of consumers say their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago, down slightly from 27%. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said their household income is about the same.