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What’s the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey?

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Fannie Mae National Housing Survey

Fannie Mae puts out its monthly National Housing Survey. It measures consumers’ attitudes about housing and the economy. In many ways, it’s similar to the consumer confidence indexes. However, the majority of the questions relate to real estate.

The latest survey asked respondents if they think it’s a good time to buy and sell a house. Since real estate prices climbed, people are becoming less confident that it’s a good time to buy. However, they’re becoming more confident that it’s a good time to sell. As we saw from the National Association of Realtors data, there’s a tight inventory problem. This suggests that it’s an excellent time to sell. It’s important to note that 61% of the respondents think it’s a good time to buy and 50% of respondents think it’s a good time to sell.

Homebuilders, like PulteGroup (PHM) and D.R. Horton (DHI), use data from the survey to measure consumers’ attitudes toward future home price appreciation. This affects attitudes about risk-taking.

Mortgage REITs, like Annaly Capital (NLY), American Capital Agency (AGNC), and PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT) use data from the survey to help forecast prepayment speeds. They also use the data to gauge consumer sentiment and its expected impact on the economy.

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Questions the survey asks

The Fannie Mae National Housing Survey asks a number of questions, including:

  • Do you think the economy is on the right track or the wrong track?
  • Looking ahead one year, do you expect your personal financial situation to get much better, somewhat better, stay the same, get worse, or get much worse?
  • Looking back over the past year, has your personal financial situation gotten much better, somewhat better, stayed the same, gotten worse, or gotten much worse?
  • In general, do you think it’s a very good time, a somewhat good time, a somewhat bad time, or a very bad time to buy a house?
  • In general, do you think it’s a very good time, a somewhat good time, a somewhat bad time, or a very bad time to sell a house?
  • During the next 12 months, do you think home prices in general will go up, go down, or stay the same?
  • By what percent do you expect home prices will change over the next 12 months?
  • During the next 12 months, do you think home rental prices will go up, go down, or stay the same?
  • By what percent do you expect rental prices to change over the next 12 months?

Investors who are interested in trading the homebuilders through an ETF could look at the S&P SPDR Homebuilders ETF (XHB). Investors who want to trade the REIT sector could look at the iShares Mortgage Real Estate ETF (REM).

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