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RISMEDIA, October 12, 2010—Fannie Mae’s latest national housing survey finds that most Americans believe the housing market has reached the bottom, but they are more cautious about owning a home. Respondents to the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey believe that home prices will hold steady (47%) or increase (31%) over the next year, and that rental prices will stay the same (46%) or go up (39%). Across the general population, the average expected rise in rental prices is four times that of home prices (3.6% versus 0.9%).

Seventy percent of Americans think it is a good time to buy a house, compared with 64% in a similar survey conducted in January 2010. But 33%—up from 30%—of all respondents said they would be more likely to rent their next home if they were to move.

“Our survey shows that consumers see a mixed outlook for housing and homeownership,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist, Fannie Mae. “These findings indicate a return to a more balanced and realistic approach toward housing. While this will likely weigh on the housing recovery in the near-term, it should, over time, help to build a stronger and healthier market focused on sustainable homeownership.”

“Although most Americans believe that home prices have bottomed, they are adopting a much more cautious approach toward buying,” Duncan continued. “Homeowners and renters alike continue to be wary of taking on risk, and they are less confident in the long-term outlook for housing.”

A majority of Americans (67%) continue to believe that housing is a safe investment; however, that number is down 16 percentage points from a similar survey conducted in 2003—the largest drop by far among all investment types tracked since then. Delinquent borrowers and renters are notably more discouraged than mortgage borrowers and underwater borrowers about a home’s safety as an investment and the appeal of buying versus renting. More than 70% of all respondents believe it will be harder for the next generation to buy a home, up three points from the beginning of the year.

The Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polled homeowners and renters between June 2010 and July 2010. Findings were compared to a similar survey conducted by Fannie Mae from December 2009 to January 2010 and released in April 2010, and a similar survey conducted in 2003.

Overview of key findings:

-The survey revealed that Americans are feeling increasingly more confident that the housing market has hit bottom, but they are less certain about the longer-term prospects for homeownership.

-A large majority of Americans (78%) believe that home prices will either remain flat or go up over the next year, up five points from the beginning of the year. Forty-seven percent believe prices will hold steady, while 31% think they will go up. This is a notable shift from January 2010, when these numbers were 36% and 37%, respectively.

-Thirty-nine percent think rental prices will increase over the next 12 months, while 46% said they will stay the same.

-Consumers continue to believe it is a buyers’ market; 70% said it is a good time to buy a house, up six points from January. However, 83% believe it is a bad time to sell a house.

-A majority of Americans (67%) continue to believe that buying a home is a safe investment, although this is down three points since January and 16 points since 2003. Housing ranked second behind putting money into a savings or money market account (76%).

-Fifty-four percent think it would be very difficult or somewhat difficult to get a home loan today, down six points since January. However, 71% of Americans think buying a home will be harder for the next generation, up three points since January.

For more information, visit www.fanniemae.com.

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