According to Fannie Mae’s second quarter Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, mortgage professionals are feeling increasingly optimistic about the housing market and the number of prospective home buyers looking to buy this year. In fact, the share of lenders reporting increased mortgage purchase demand over the prior three months hit an all-time survey high and expectations for the next quarter are well above last year’s readings. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, said the results – combined with recent improvements in consumer attitudes – reinforces their optimistic housing forecast this year. “We expect a continued housing expansion in 2015 after an uneven and disappointing 2014,” Duncan said. In addition to increasing demand for loans to buy homes, lenders report that mortgage credit has been loosening so far this year, after tightening the year before. That’s good news for creditworthy Americans who are looking to purchase a home. Tighter lending standards put in place after the financial crisis and housing crash meant otherwise qualified buyers had a tougher time securing financing. Now, with credit more available, mortgage rates still historically low, and an improved job market, pent-up demand for housing has begun to materialize, leading to boosted home sales and rising optimism about the months ahead. More here.