A record low 19 percent of Americans say it’s a good time to buy a home, according to a monthly survey Fannie Mae’s been conducting since 2010.

The percentage of Americans who think it’s a good time to buy a home dropped to a new record low in April, as listings shortages in many markets, rising prices and mortgage rates continued to create challenging conditions for would-be homebuyers.

Fannie Mae’s monthly latest National Housing Survey, released Monday, found that the percentage of Americans who think it’s a good time to buy a home fell to 19 percent in April, breaking the previous record low of 24 percent seen in March. The mortgage giant has been conducting the monthly telephone surveys of 1,000 consumers since 2010.

“The current lack of entry-level supply and the rapid uptick in mortgage rates appear to be adversely impacting potential first-time homebuyers in particular,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan, in a statement. A larger share of 18- to 34-year-olds said it was a bad time to buy a home, he noted.

Doug Duncan

“Additionally, consumer perception regarding the ease of getting a mortgage also decreased across nearly all surveyed segments this month, suggesting to us that the benefit of the recent past’s historically low mortgage rate environment appears to have diminished, and affordability is poised to become an even greater constraint going forward,” Duncan said. “This sentiment is consistent with our forecast of decelerating home sales through the rest of 2022 and into 2023.”

In an April 19 forecast, Fannie Mae economists said they expect home sales to decline by 7.4 percent this year and by 9.7 percent in 2023, and that there’s a chance of a “modest recession” in the second half of next year in the face of continued Fed tightening.

Despite an 11.3 percent drop from March to April, demand for purchase loans was essentially at the same level as a year ago, demonstrating “consistent and resilient demand from homebuyers,” mortgage data aggregator Black Knight said in another report out Monday.

Although the Fed is expected to continue raising short-term rates this year, some observers believe mortgage rates could plateau now that the Fed has unveiled details of its plans to unwind nearly $9 trillion in long-term government debt and mortgages.

But nearly three in four consumers surveyed in April (73 percent) said they think mortgage rates are headed still higher over the next 12 months.

A similar share of consumers — 71 percent — said they thought the economy was on the wrong track in April, down 2 percentage points from March’s record high of 73 percent.

Fannie Mae’s overall Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), which is based on six survey questions, decreased by 4.7 points in April, to 68.5 — its lowest level since May 2020, at the outset of the pandemic.

Home Purchase Sentiment Index components

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, April 2022.

The percentage of respondents who said it’s a good time to buy a home decreased from 24 percent to a record low 19 percent, while the percentage who said it is a bad time to buy increased from 73 percent to 76 percent. The net share of those who say it is a good time to buy decreased 8 percentage points from March to April.

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, April 2022.

The percentage of respondents who said it’s a good time to sell a home decreased from 74 percent to 72 percent, while the percentage who said it’s a bad time to sell remained unchanged at 21 percent. The net share of those who said it is a good time to sell decreased 2 percentage points from March to April.

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, April 2022.

The percentage of respondents who said they expect home prices to go up in the next 12 months decreased from 48 percent to 44 percent, while the percentage who said they expect home prices to go down increased from 20 percent to 25 percent. The net share of Americans who said they expect home prices will go up decreased 9 percentage points month-over-month.

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, April 2022.

The percentage of respondents who said they expect mortgage rates to go down in the next 12 months increased from 4 percent to 5 percent, while the percentage who expect mortgage rates to go up increased from 69 percent to 73 percent. The share who thinks mortgage rates will stay the same decreased from 23 percent to 18 percent. The net share of Americans who said they expect mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months decreased 3 percentage points from March to April.

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, April 2022.

The percentage of respondents who said they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months decreased from 86 percent to 84 percent, while the percentage who said they are concerned remained unchanged at 11 percent. The net share of Americans who said they are not concerned about losing their job decreased 2 percentage points from March to April.

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, April 2022.

The percentage of respondents who said their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased from 29 percent to 26 percent, while the percentage who said their household income is significantly lower increased from 13 percent to 14 percent. The percentage who said their household income is about the same increased from 53 percent to 56 percent. The net share of those who said their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased 4 percentage points from March to April.

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Email Matt Carter

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