Homebuyer sentiment has hit an all-time low. Here’s what that means


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Many Americans are concerned about where the economy is headed, and their prospects for homeownership may be a big factor. While many non-homeowners have plans to buy a home in the near future, there isn’t presently enough supply to meet their demand. Despite their interest in buying, consumers say that now is a particularly bad time to purchase a home.

Just one-third say it’s a good time to buy

In its most recent National Housing Survey, a monthly poll on home purchase sentiment, government-sponsored enterprise Fannie Mae asked consumers about their confidence in the economy and whether or not they think it’s a good time to buy and sell a home. The survey results showed that optimism toward home selling has hit a historical high, while optimism toward homebuying is at a historical low:

  • 30% say it’s a good time to buy a home
  • 77% say it’s a good time to sell a home
  • 55% expect mortgage rates to go up over the next 12 months

Economy on the “wrong track”

The belief that the economy is on the overall “right track” is at its lowest since October 2013, with 65% of consumers saying the economy is currently on the “wrong track.”


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In addition to concerns about rising mortgage rates, other concerns may continue to hurt consumers’ confidence in the economy and in homebuying. Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae, says that supply chain disruptions and inflation are added causes for this sagging confidence.

In particular, consumers look to be concerned that pay increases may not keep pace with inflation. While the majority of respondents say they are not concerned about losing their jobs over the next 12 months (84%), many also say that their income level has not increased over the last year (62%).

Duncan did express a modicum of optimism: “[W]hile economic uncertainty could potentially dampen mortgage demand over the longer term, we believe current market conditions remain conducive to home purchase activity, as demand for homes continues to far outstrip the supply available for sale.”

Indeed, the October 2021 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (which compiles information from the NHS) is 75.5, up a point from the previous month — however, it is still down a significant 6.2 points from the previous year (81.7 in October 2020).


Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey (NHS) polled approximately 1,000 respondents via live telephone interview, and was conducted from Oct. 1 to Oct. 23, 2021. The Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) distills information about consumers’ home purchase sentiment from the NHS into a single number. The HPSI reflects consumers’ current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions and complements existing data sources to inform housing-related analysis and decision making.

This article originally appeared on ValuePenguin.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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20 affordable cities for homebuyers

20 affordable cities for homebuyers

Home is where the heart is, but it can also be where all the money is. Housing is one of the biggest living expenses adults incur on a regular basis.

Whether someone is renting or buying, finding a good deal is usually the goal. Learning about local housing market trends can be helpful.

To make finding budget-friendly housing easier, keep reading to uncover the 20 most affordable cities, as well as the average home price and average cost per square foot of homes in those areas.

Related: Explaining the home buying process

Tiago_Fernandez / istockphoto

Average Home Price: $266,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $118

U.S. News ranked Huntsville as the most affordable place to live out of their ranking of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for two years in a row.

Residents tend to have an above-average median annual salary and spend only 19.16% of their income on living expenses. Those who are craving some southern charm may just find what they’re looking for in Huntsville.

Sean Pavone / istockphoto

Average Home Price: $172,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $148

When you consider the fact that the cost of living in Des Moines is lower than the national average and that housing prices in the area are decently below the national median, it’s pretty clear why Des Moines is a great place to live. Unlike many cities, home prices actually increase as you head out to the suburbs, and downtown housing prices are more reasonable.

dangarneau / istockphoto

Average Home Price: $210,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $144

In the past, Pittsburgh lost some of its younger population to metro areas with a stronger job market, but today’s affordable housing market and job growth is attracting younger residents again. There are multiple universities in the area, such as the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, that also attract a vibrant and youthful population.

tifonimages/ istockphoto

Average Home Price: $212,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $128

The annual average income in Grand Rapids is smaller than the national average, but residents may find their dollars stretch much further in this city due to a lower cost of living.

Housing costs are less than the national median in this area and residents tend to spend less on living expenses, such as groceries and health care, than those who are located in other areas of the country.


Average Home Price: $185,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $102

Indianapolis has a lively downtown area that is quite walkable and full of fun things to do while taking advantage of big-city amenities. Those looking for a more suburban feel can enjoy outer neighborhoods that still offer shopping and entertainment venues without all the hustle and bustle of being in downtown Indianapolis.

Sean Pavone / istockphoto

Average Home Price: $246,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $129

Good-old Baton Rouge delivers the charm of New Orleans without the hordes of tourists. Warm weather all year-round and close access to the Mississippi River lends the city a romantic feel.

benkrut / istockphoto

Average Home Price: $190,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $118

Cincinnati has a reputation for being a sleepy Midwestern metro area, but don’t believe the rumors! This city can offer tons of great amenities from museums, to professional sports teams, to a bevy of great restaurants.

aceshot / istockphoto

Average Home Price: $185,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $123

Buffalo is currently experiencing a sort of renaissance thanks to a rapidly developing waterfront and being home to one of the nation’s most advanced medical corridors.

Local government support has led to an increasing number of local businesses, which means there are likely some pretty good job opportunities to be found for career builders in Buffalo.

pabradyphoto/ istockphoto

Average Home Price: $215,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $121

Families will love spending their weekends in Louisville, thanks to having easy access to the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky Science Center and the Louisville Slugger Museum. Day by day, this city is becoming more diverse. Residents are moving in from around the world and the city is supportive of the LGBT community.


Average Home Price: $117,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $74

Like many Midwestern cities, Youngstown lives up to the hype when it comes to having friendly neighbors who love to celebrate their community. This city has a mix of everything residents could want. The downtown area is surrounded by farmland, which allows residents to shop for produce from local farms!

Sean Pavone / istockphoto

Average Home Price: $217,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $119

Omaha residents sure know how to save a pretty penny! The cost of living in Omaha is so much lower than the national average that renters typically pay $100 less per month than the average American does on housing. When it comes time to buy a home, median home prices are slightly lower than other spots around America.


Average Home Price: $220,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $118

More and more millennials are flocking to Kansas City to take advantage of a fair cost of living and a good job market. This younger generation has helped foster a creative community in Kansas City. Locals can enjoy unique boutiques, independent coffee shops and colorful murals throughout the city.


Average Home Price: $250,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $139

In recent years, Greenville has seen an uptick in home sales. More than 40% of Greenville residents own their home and real estate developers are bringing new housing options to downtown. Home prices are lower in Greenville than the national median, so it’s easy to see why so many people are ready to buy homes in the area.


Average Home Price: $159,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $107

For families looking for big city amenities mixed with small town charm, Fort Wayne can meet all of their needs and more. This midsize metropolitan area in the heart of the Midwest is a great place to buy a home, start a business, build a career or bring up children. The annual BuskerFest devoted to street performers is a local event that can’t be missed.

wellesenterprises / istockphoto

Average Home Price: $165,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $114

Hickory locals happily enjoy a moderate climate and stunning mountain views throughout the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area. Also known as the Catawba Valley, this area is home to many retirees and families. Lately, more and more young professionals are beginning to see the Hickory appeal.


Average Home Price: $210,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $115

If you love football, you’ll appreciate the fact that Green Bay is home to the Green Bay Packers, which is one of the most storied football franchises in the NFL. For non-sports fans, there are tons of big-city amenities to appreciate, including a bustling arts and entertainment scene, plenty of higher education opportunities and a thriving downtown area.


Average Home Price: $190,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $139

This historic metro area houses almost 3 million people (known as St. Louisans) and is known for being a tight-knit community that is very family-friendly. Hometown loyalty is strong in St. Louis, and many residents choose to come back after heading off to college or moving somewhere else for a while.


Average Home Price: $168,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $102

This fun and quirky city keeps locals busy with plenty of theaters, museums, live music, a craft brewery scene, farmers markets and even chili cook-offs. For those who love to shop, the Kalamazoo Mall is popular and well known for being the nation’s first outdoor pedestrian mall.


Average Home Price: $225

Average Price Per Square Foot: $120

Lincoln has a thriving economy, a low unemployment rate, and is considered to be a part of the “Silicon Prairie” due to being home to some of Nebraska’s biggest tech companies. This vibrant city is packed full of college students and the 85,000 football fans who flock to games during the fall.

Miriam Bade / istockphoto

Average Home Price: $184,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $103

This scenic city has a rich history that predates the Revolutionary War. Today, Spartanburg is a hub of innovation, and it’s home to Denny’s headquarters and the first full-time North American BMW plant. Career opportunities aside, Spartanburg has seven institutions of higher learning and is a foodie hotspot thanks to the bustling food scene in the area.


Even the most affordable homes can cost a pretty penny, which is where mortgages come in. Consumers may compare mortgage loan rates and terms from commercial banks, mortgage companies, and certain financial institutions. Typically, certain requirements relating to credit scores and income level help determine if a consumer will receive a mortgage and what their rates and terms are.

When preparing to apply for a mortgage, it can be helpful to consider multiple lenders, comparing loan terms to get an idea of what might work for an applicant’s financial situation. 

Asking lenders for a preapproval or prequalification letter can help mortgage applicants better understand what type of mortgage terms they may be offered.

Learn more:

How to buy a house out of stateWhat do I need to buy a house?

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