Despite bad news on the jobs front Friday, more Americans believe home prices and opportunities for buyers and sellers will increase over the next 12 months, Fannie Mae said Monday. 

Americans on average expect home prices to jump 1.3% over the next year, according to Fannie’s April 2012 National Housing Survey.

The GSE surveys 1,000 random Americans to come up with the latest results each month. The percentage of Americans who believe now is a good time to sell a home rose to 15% in April, up from relatively flat levels in 2011.

Confidence in the economy’s overall direction also hit a new high of 37% in April, an increase of two-percentage points from March.

“This month’s survey shows a continued gradual improvement in consumer sentiment and outlook for home prices,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae. “After flatlining at depressed levels for over a year, a growing share of consumers indicate that it is a good time to sell, suggesting rising optimism for the housing market. Overall, consumer views of housing market conditions have become more supportive of home purchases, and sustained healthy hiring is required to help realize these improved expectations. Friday’s report of a second consecutive setback in job creation supports the view that the housing recovery will remain uneven this year.”

Of those interviewed for the housing survey, 39% expect mortgage rates will rise over the next 12 months. About 71% believe it’s a good time to buy, down a slight 2 percentage points from the last survey.

Survey respondents also believe home rental prices are on their way back up and could increase by 3.6% over the next year.

About 32% of those interviewed said they would rent if they had to move again, a 2-percentage point increase from last month and the highest level since November.

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