Fewer consumers say home prices, mortgage rates will grow in 2019
Consumers have higher household incomes and more faith in cooling home price and mortgage rate growth than they did a year ago, which could allude to a stabilized housing market in 2019, according to Fannie Mae.
The net share of consumers reporting considerably stronger household income rose eight percentage points year-over-year in January, while those believing house prices will grow in the next year fell to its lowest level since 2012.
The net share of consumers thinking mortgage rates will increase throughout the year also declined, which aligns with a Federal Reserve statement from its January meeting that it will "be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate."
The percentage of consumers claiming it's a good time to buy a house grew four points from December to 15%, but is still down 12 percentage points from January 2018. The share reporting it's a good time to sell a house fell three percentage points annually to 35%.
While home selling and buying sentiment did decline year-over-year, it seems a healthier job market and cooling prices and rates are driving the positive sentiments on housing. Fannie's Home Purchase Sentiment index, measuring consumer attitudes on the market, increased 1.2 points in January.
"Movement among the HPSI components points to possible housing affordability relief at the start of 2019," Doug Duncan, Fannie's senior vice president and chief economist, said in a press release.
"Overall, these results are in line with our forecast that, amid improving affordability conditions, home sales should stabilize in 2019 after declining last year for the first time in four years," he added.