April 8, 2019 / 12:31 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. home purchase sentiment rises to 9-month high - Fannie Mae

NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) - U.S. consumer sentiment for buying a home rose to its strongest in nine months as a result of a sturdy jobs market and a decline in mortgage rates so far this year, according to data released by Fannie Mae on Monday.

The federal mortgage agency said its home purchase sentiment index increased by 5.5 points to 89.8 points, its highest since last June.

Notably, Fannie Mae's latest data showed the net share of consumers surveyed in March who said it is a good time to sell a home jumped 13 points to 43%.

A net share of 22% of consumers said it is a good time to buy a home, up 7 points from the month before.

The net share of consumers surveyed who said they are not concerned about losing their jobs fell 1 point to 80% from February's 81%, which was the highest since the survey began in 2010.

Last Friday, the U.S. Labor Department said employers hired 196,000 workers in March, up from a revised 33,000 a month earlier, while average hourly earnings grew only 0.1% versus a 0.4% jump in February.

Moreover, the share of consumers who said mortgage rates will rise over the next 12 months surpassed those who thought home borrowing costs would decline was a difference of 45 percentage points.

The average 30-year home loan rate last week edged up 4.08% from prior week's 4.06%, which was a 14-month low, Freddie Mac said on Thursday. (Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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