In its latest monthly outlook, mortgage-finance company Fannie Mae says the housing market is off to a promising start and improving consumer sentiment will help with a gradual recovery in 2012, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Among its findings, Fannie Mae noted that more consumers are reporting they believe it is a good time to sell their homes, a segment of the market that has long been depressed, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

In other news:

Slow foreclosure process in Illinois. A new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association finds that “7.5 percent of mortgage loans on one- to four-unit residential properties in Illinois were in foreclosure at the end of March, compared with a national average of 4.39 percent,” due in part to the state’s court-supervised foreclosure process, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Protesters in Chicago call for foreclosure freeze. CBS2-TV in Chicago reports that as the city readies for the upcoming NATO Summit, protesters are calling for a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.