Fannie Mae’s quarterly Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey asks senior mortgage executives for their perceptions of the market and forecast for the future. According to the most recent release, lenders point to an “insufficient supply of homes available for sale” as the primary reason for slow home sales growth last year. In fact, 48 percent of responding lenders said that too few homes for sale held buyers back, while rising interest rates and higher prices were also commonly cited factors. Similarly, when asked for suggestions for what could be done to improve affordability in the months ahead, increasing the housing stock led the list. In short, mortgage execs see low inventory as the market’s biggest issue. This isn’t a surprise. The fact that there’s been a lower-than-typical number of homes for sale has been pushing home prices upward and keeping competition for affordable homes high. The good news, however, is that recent data shows inventory has been rising and, if the trend continues, it could help provide some relief to buyers this year. More here.