Buying a home is not something many people do without weighing the pros and cons. After all, there are a lot of factors that play into whether or not a homeowner decides to sell their house or a renter makes the jump and buys a home of their own. Mortgage rates, home prices, employment conditions, and personal finances can all play a role for Americans deciding whether or not to enter the housing market. For this reason, Fannie Mae’s monthly Home Purchase Sentiment Index measures how consumers are feeling about their financial situation and the real-estate market in an effort to gauge overall optimism and how likely Americans are to buy or sell a home this year. In January, the index moved up after five consecutive months of decline. The bump in optimism was mostly related to an increasing sense of job security and a spike in the number of respondents who said their household income is significantly higher than it was at the same time last year. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist, says optimism about economic conditions is high but whether that means more home buyers and sellers this spring remains to be seen. “Any significant acceleration in housing activity will depend on whether consumers’ favorable expectations are realized in the form of income gains sufficient to offset constrained housing affordability,” Duncan said. More here.