Just in time for the spring sales season to kick-off, more Americans are saying it's a good time to buy a house. In fact, according to Fannie Mae's most recent Home Purchase Sentiment Index – based on a monthly survey which asks Americans for their perceptions of the housing market, buying or selling a home, mortgage rates, home prices, their job and financial situation – respondents are feeling more optimistic about the market. Specifically, the component measuring whether participants think it's a good time to buy a house rose 4 percent from the month before. But whether it's a sign of spring or prospective buyers feeling like they need to get ahead of any upcoming rate increases is difficult to say. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's senior vice president and chief economist, says respondents are definitely expecting higher rates. “A survey-record share of consumers – particularly homeowners and higher-income individuals – expect mortgage rates to increase in the next 12 months, likely owing to signals that the Fed will raise rates to slow the pace of inflation,” Duncan said. Still, the increase in buyer sentiment is a welcome change after several months of declines.