Nearly half of consumers responding to a national poll said they believe housing prices in their regions will rise in the next two years, a stark contrast to a housing report released last week by Moody’s that predicts house prices are likely to decline more than 10 percent over the next few years in 20 metropolitan areas.

The survey, produced by the Associated Press and AOL Real Estate, asked 2,001 adults about attitudes towards home buying, and was conducted Sept. 19-26 by Ipsos.

About 50 percent of participants said they think housing in their area is not currently overpriced, but 46 percent said they believe prices are inflated. Suburbanites were more likely to say housing in their area is overpriced (53 percent), compared to urban residents (39 percent) and those living in rural areas (40 percent).

Other key poll findings include:

  • Men (29 percent), especially unmarried men (35 percent), are more likely than women (22 percent) to say that they are likely to purchase a home in the next two years.

  • Minorities (33 percent) are slightly more likely than others to be future home buyers.

  • Fifty-six percent of renters say they are at least somewhat likely to buy a home in the next two years.

  • The vast majority of recent home buyers (88 percent) say the process of buying a home was a positive experience, with more than half (51 percent) rating their experience as “very positive.”

  • Sixty-two percent of recent home buyers used a professional real estate agent in their searches, and 71 percent of likely future home buyers say they will use an agent when they start house hunting.

  • A majority (53 percent) of recent home buyers also used the Internet to assist in their home searches, and 74 percent of likely future home buyers expect to use the Internet as well.

  • Seventy-one percent of those who used the Internet or plan to use it for their home searches say they have taken a virtual tour of homes.

  • Quality of construction (87 percent) ranks as the most important factor when buying or renting a home, followed by price (79 percent), quality of local schools (68 percent), possibility of appreciation in value (57 percent), and closet and storage space (54 percent).

  • Pleasant views (28 percent), outdoor space/landscaping (40 percent), proximity to work (42 percent) and square-footage (45 percent) rank as less significant factors in choosing a home.

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