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Americans expect falling home prices and higher rental rates: Fannie Mae

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The average consumer expects home prices to decline by at least 0.5% in the next 12 months, according to a new monthly consumer survey from Fannie Mae. That forecast reverses the trend from May when most consumers interviewed by the government-sponsored enterprise said they expect at least a slight home price increase in the next year. Those consumer revelations are part of the GSE's Monthly National Housing Survey, a reflection of consumer sentiment based on 1,000 interviews with Americans. Only 22% of respondents in June see higher home prices on the horizon, compared to 25% of consumers who expect prices to decline and 49% who believe there will be no significant change. Fannie Mae's latest study presents a mixed-bag of consumer sentiment, with 69% of those interviewed saying it's a great time to buy and only 11% saying it's a good time to sell. The idea that Americans will race into the housing market before low mortgage rates increase carries less water since "fewer Americans expect home mortgage rates to go up in the next 12 months," Fannie Mae said in its consumer report. The GSE reported 38% of those interviewed expect interest rates will rise in the coming year, which is down nine percentage points from May and 15 points from April. The survey underscores some of the trends taking hold in the housing market, with most Americans expecting a 3.9% rise in rental prices as fewer consumers take the homeownership route. About 44% of the 1,000 Americans interviewed expect rental prices to rise, compared to 39% last year. And most consumers interviewed by Fannie still prefer owning a home when given a choice. Nearly two-thirds said they would buy their next property if they were going to move, while 31% said they would rent. When interviewed about their basic financial situation, 63% said their household income stayed the same in June, while 20% reported higher income and 15% reported a drop in household income. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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