Oct. 7 (UPI) -- New statistics Monday indicate fewer Americans are confident in the U.S. housing market, despite lower mortgage rates that are making homes more affordable in the United States.
Fannie Mae released its Home Purchase Sentiment Index, which measures Americans' opinions on owning and renting property and influencing elements like price changes and market factors. The government-sponsored housing agency said the index dropped 2.3 points in September -- down from a record high in August.
Respondents were asked if now is a good time to buy or sell, about home prices and mortgage rates and how concerned they are about losing their employment. Fannie Mae also asked if incomes are higher now than they were a year ago.
Despite the drop from August, September's index is still up 3.8 points compared to September 2018. The number of Americans who said it's a good time to buy jumped 3 percentage points to 28 percent -- while those who answered it's a good time to sell rose 4 points (44 percent).
"Consumer sentiment remains relatively strong overall, though uncertainty about the economy and individual financial circumstances appear to be weighing on housing market attitudes a bit more than a month ago," Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said. "Views about the direction of the economy held relatively steady and the share of respondents who say it's a good time to buy or sell a home rose slightly."
The survey also showed household income climbed for 21 percent of respondents, about the same as last year. Mortgage rates are presently the lowest they've been in more than a month and significantly lower than they were a year ago. U.S. home prices have also declined in the last year, on average, the index said.