Rising Incomes Help Hopeful Home Buyers

The current housing market is a mixed bag. On the one hand, mortgage rates remain near record lows. At the same time, home price increases are causing affordability concerns. Additionally, home buyer demand is high but the number of homes available for sale is low. Because of this, recent results of Fannie Mae’s monthly Home Purchase Sentiment Index have been volatile. In March, sentiment hit an 18-month low. Then, according to the most recent release, it reached an all-time survey high in May. Partly, the increase in optimism was due to a 7 percent jump in the number of Americans who said their income was significantly higher than it was a year ago. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist, says rising incomes and low mortgage rates could help home buyers facing higher prices and fewer choices. “Continued home price appreciation has been squeezing housing affordability, driving a two-year downward trend in the share of consumers who think it’s a good time to buy a home,” Duncan said. “The current low mortgage rate environment has helped ease this pressure, and fewer than half of consumers expect rates to go up in the next year. While the May increase in income growth perceptions could provide further support to prospective home buyers as the spring/summer home buying season gains momentum, the effect may be muted by May’s discouraging jobs report.” More here.

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