More than half of consumers believe problems in the subprime mortgage market will affect the market overall, and that the government should pass legislation to help subprime borrowers avoid foreclosure, according to an Experian-Gallup poll.

The Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index survey showed about half of consumers would be uncomfortable making a major purchase like a home or car in the next three months.

About 52 percent of those surveyed expected the average price of homes in their area to increase over the next year, and another 29 percent believe prices will remain about the same. Only 18 percent said they expect prices in their area will decrease.

Of those who said they were “very familiar” with subprime loans, 61 percent said they expect problems in subprime to spill over into the overall mortgage market. About 55 percent said the federal government should pass legislation helping subprime borrowers keep their homes and avoid foreclosure

The Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index, which fell to 87 in June from a high of 105 in January and February, rebounded to 95 in July. The index measures consumer’s perception of credit issues.

Some 17 percent of those surveyed said they knew someone who had been turned down for credit during the past three months, although 44 percent said they felt it was easier to get credit than it was three months ago.

The survey was conducted in April, May and June, before the latest turmoil in the secondary market for mortgage loans prompted many lenders to further tighten underwriting standards and eliminate the use of some risky loans altogether.

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