More investors are bullish about home prices in the coming year and are beginning to aggressively hunt for residential real estate investments in their own backyards, according to a new survey conducted by Move Inc. The firm's real estate investor survey found 22% of investors are bullish about home prices going up in the next six to 12 months, a slight uptick from prior periods. About 53.5% expect home prices to remain relatively the same. However 22% is a much higher share of the market than expected, prompting Move Inc. to conclude in its survey report that "local markets may be heating up with renewed investor interest and activity." Based on survey results, Move concluded 69% of investors believe they'll have an easier time finding investment properties in the future, while 43.5% believe it may be harder. Some 62% are paying more attention to local home values, with the expectation that it may be time to jump off the sidelines. Even though first-time homebuyers are often considered the ones to watch when it comes to jump-starting a lagging housing market, 65.5% of the investors who responded to the Move survey said they expect first-time homebuyers to have trouble qualifying for mortgages in an era of heightened underwriting, making it easier for them to nab good deals. About 18.5% expect to invest using cash-only, and 80.5% expect to receive cash discounts from sellers. Write to Kerri Panchuk.