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American homebuyers suffer from a crisis of faith: survey

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A housing conference call organized by real estate listing websites, Trulia and RealtyTrac, revealed 48% of potential homebuyers in America have lost faith in the ability of the mortgage industry and 24% percent lost faith in the ability of the government to manage said market. The survey cited during the call refers to research from Harris Interactive conducted in early November. The sample consists of 2,034 adults, including 1,329 homeowners -- 1,000 of whom currently have a mortgage -- and 652 renters. In the survey, Americans give several reasons for their lack of faith in the mortgage finance system. Pete Flint, chief executive of Trulia, said 58% of respondents don't think the housing market will recover until after 2012. Some 22% expect the market to normalize in 2015. "It's hard to believe one in five Americans believe we are in for another five years of a depressed and volatile housing market," he said. "But they do." Flint and Rick Sharga, senior vice president of RealtyTrac, went on to detail why Americans feel this way. Flint said many potential homeowners expect interest rates will head toward 5% in 2012, adding $120 a month to a $400,000 mortgage, potentially pricing some borrowers out of market. A fear of more government intervention also entered the conversation, with Sharga calling the homebuyer tax credit "fairly disruptive" causing "as much harm as good as the stimulus program wore off." Both men hoped the government would focus more on job creation. "Any further reforms would batter a heavily bruised housing market," Flint said. Write to Jacob Gaffney.

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