By Kerri Panchuk

• April 9, 2012 • 9:26am

A new Fannie Mae study suggests Americans are beginning to consider 2012 a good year to acquire a home.

The GSE released its March National Housing Survey of just over 1,000 Americans and found more citizens expect rents and home prices to increase in the coming months, making today a better time to purchase a residence. 

About 73% of those interviewed said buying a home today is a good idea, up from 70% in February. 

Thirty-seven percent of those interviewed believe prices will increase, which is up 5 percentage points since February and the highest point reached in more than a year.

About half of the respondents expect both home rentals and purchases will grow over the next 12 months. 

Consumers also are more confident about their own finances, with 44% believing their financial situations will get better in the near future.

“Conditions are coming together to encourage people to want to buy homes,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae. “Americans’ rental price expectations for the next year continue to rise, reaching their record high level for our survey this month. With an increasing share of consumers expecting higher mortgage rates and home prices over the next 12 months, some may feel that renting is becoming more costly and that homeownership is a more compelling housing choice.”

Still, 58% of those surveyed believe the economy is still on the wrong track, with only 35% holding a more optimistic view of the nation’s economic situation. Twelve percent believe their financial situation will worsen, and 21% believe their income is now significantly higher than it was 12 months ago. 

kpanchuk@housingwire.com