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Delinquent borrowers would rather rent: Fannie Mae survey

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Half of homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgages would rather rent than buy a home, according to Fannie Mae's third quarter national housing survey. This is the first time the rental preference has exceeded the percentage of people who would rather buy. Fifty percent said they would rather rent, up 10% from January, while 45% said they would buy a home, down 11% since January. According to the quarterly survey, 68% of Americans think it's a good time to buy a home, down 2% from the last survey conducted in June, while 29% of Americans think it's a bad time to buy a home, up 3% from June. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they think it is a bad time to sell a home, up 2% from June. “Consumer attitudes toward buying a home are more negative since last quarter,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Our survey shows that Americans’ declining optimism about housing and their personal finances is reinforcing increasingly realistic attitudes toward owning and renting.” Americans believe rental prices will increase more than home price by a ratio of 4 to 1, according to Fannie Mae, but that won't deter the attractiveness of the market. Fannie Mae found that an almost equal number of Americans expect home prices to increase in the next year as think prices will decrease, with 25% thinking they will increase (down 6% from the last quarter) and 22% believing they will decrease (up 4%). Fannie Mae said in its economic outlook that home sales are expected to bottom out during the fourth quarter. Write to Christine Ricciardi.

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