Americans Cautiously Optimistic About Housing Market

Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index measures Americans' perception of the current housing market and their personal financial situation. The index serves as a gauge of how optimistic consumers are about buying or selling a home. 
In December, sentiment declined from the month before, with fewer Americans saying it's a good time to enter the market. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's senior vice president and chief economist, says the pandemic may be behind the decline. 
“The HPSI declined for the second consecutive month and fell to its lowest level since May 2020, as consumers adjusted to the worsening COVID-19 conditions of the first few weeks of December – the survey collection period,” Duncan said. But though the index fell from the previous month, 52 percent of respondents still feel it's a good time to buy. 
Similarly, about half of respondents said it was a good time to sell a house. The results reflect the cautious optimism potential home buyers and sellers are feeling right now. 
On the one hand, favorable mortgage rates and pent-up demand are fueling interest; on the other, higher home prices, the pandemic, and low inventory are causing hesitation.