According to the March 2012 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, 48 percent of Americans who responded expect rental prices to increase, and the expectation is that prices will rise by 4.1 percent over the next 12 months, the highest number recorded to date and an increase from the 3.5 percent recorded in February.
Also, 33 percent of respondents expect home prices to go up over the next 12 months, a 5 percent increase from last month. Americans project prices will go up by 0.9 percent over the same time period.
With expectations for an increase in rental prices and the value of homes, a large percentage, 73 percent, said now is a good time to buy, a 3 percent increase from last month, while only 14 percent said it is a good time to sell.
If respondents were going to move, 66 percent they would buy a home, while 30 percent of respondents said they would rent.
""Conditions are coming together to encourage people to want to buy homes,"" said Doug Duncan, VP and chief economist of Fannie Mae. ""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.""
Americans are also showing optimism about their finances, with only 12 percent thinking their personal financial situation will worsen and 44 percent expecting improvements.
Though, when it comes to the economy, the respondents were more pessimistic, with 58 percent of respondents who said the economy is on the wrong track, and 35 percent who said the economy is on the right track.
Those who expect to see mortgage rates go up increased by 5 percent, at 39 percent, while 48 percent expect rates to stay the same, down 2 percent from February.
The survey represents a national sample of 1,000 respondents aged 18 and older, polled between March 1, 2011 and March 28, 2012.