Consumers Grow Far Gloomier About Home Buying

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

35%

That’s how few U.S. consumers think it’s a good time to buy a house—the smallest share since at least 2010—according to the May installment of Fannie Mae’s survey on housing sentiment. 

The 35% marks a sharp shift in attitude about the pandemic-era housing market, according to the latest results from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey, published Monday. While consumers feel more sunny about their job prospects and income, the survey results show, rising prices and the lack of homes for sale is proving discouraging even as relatively low mortgage interest rates persist, according to Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. 

In April, 47% thought it was a good time to buy, and earlier in the pandemic, the percentage was as high as 61%. Meanwhile, a record 56% of respondents said it was a bad time to buy in May, up from 48% in April. For the second month in a row—and only the second time since the monthly poll began in 2010—those that considered it a bad time exceeded those that deemed it a good time. 

Fannie Mae, which purchases mortgages from lenders, polled 1,003 household decision-makers 18 and older. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.