Americans feel better about the housing market than at the beginning of last year, according to the most recent Housing Purchase Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae. The index measures Americans’ perception of buying and selling a house, mortgage rates, prices, and their own financial stability. The most recent results show an increase in confidence since last year but a slight weakening from the month before. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, says affordability is still the main challenge. “Consumers remained cautious in their housing outlook at the end of 2017, as tax reform discussions continued,” Duncan said. “Entering 2018, housing affordability remains a persistent challenge, particularly in rental markets, where consumer expectations for price increases over the next 12 months reached a new survey high.” Still, according to most forecasts, this year’s real-estate market – though not that different from last year’s – should benefit from an increase in new home construction, which may help keep prices from climbing as quickly as they have been. More here.