Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index is based on the results of a monthly survey that asks Americans about their attitudes toward buying and selling a home, the economy, their household finances, home prices, mortgage rates, etc. In March, the index dropped 2.5 points from the previous month. This indicates Americans are feeling more cautious about the housing market and less optimistic about their jobs and income. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist, says Americans’ feelings about the housing market are starting to become affected by pessimism about the overall economy. “Growing pessimism over the last three months about the direction of the economy seems to be spilling over into home purchase sentiment,” Duncan said. “The gap between the share of consumers who think the economy is on the wrong track and the share who think it is on the right track has widened, nearly matching its reading last August, when concerns regarding China and oil prices led to the biggest stock market plunge in years. In turn, we saw dips this month in income growth perceptions, attitudes about the home selling climate, and job confidence, all of which contributed to the lowest HPSI reading in the last year and a half. These declines seem to be at odds with recent news of solid overall job creation, but may reflect weakening economic performance in certain industries.” Still, despite the monthly dip, the index remains virtually unchanged from where it was at the same time last year. More here.