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COSTA MESA, Calif. – Economists and housing experts may still be debating whether there is a housing budget, but consumers are not only convinced there is but that it’s going to burst shortly. According to the latest Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index survey, 71% of consumers say it is likely that a housing bubble and collapse of prices could occur in the U.S. within the next year. Twenty-four percent say a housing bubble is not likely. In contrast, 32% expect the collapse of a housing bubble in their own area in the next year, and 65% say it isn’t likely. But when the time period was extended to three years, 42% of respondents indicated such a situation was likely to happen in their area, and 56% said it is not. In May 2005, a similar question showed a slightly less pessimistic outlook – 37% of consumers expected a housing bubble and collapse within the next three years, and 61% said it was not likely. The survey also showed that among all consumers, 41% expect housing prices to rise at least 5%, including 20% who expect increases of at least 10%. Only 7% of consumers expect housing prices to drop by at least 5%, including 4% who expect prices to fall by at least 10%. Only just over 10% of all consumers expect either to borrow money to buy a new home or to refinance their home. Only 1% each plan to borrow money on their current home by a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. A third of homeowners have a home-equity loan or line of credit. The main reason for taking out the product was to finance home improvements, mentioned by 43% of borrowers. Another 10% cited debt consolidation. Credit card debt (4%), followed by an emergency (4%), education expenses (3%) and medical expenses (2%) were also offered.

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