February 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook


MCLEAN, VA – February 14, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) released today its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for February showing that while the housing sector is recovering, the level of housing activity is still near historic lows. And in many markets, especially those hardest hit, there is room for sustainable growth because of record high homebuyer affordability; a factor of relatively low house prices, mortgage rates and modestly rising income.

Outlook Highlights

  • For the first year since 2005, residential fixed investment (RFI) made positive contributions to GDP growth, adding 0.4 percent to growth in the fourth quarter and 0.3 percent for the year. Expect RFI to contribute upwards of 0.5 percent for 2013 as a whole.
  • Projecting housing starts in 2013 will increase to 950,000 units or about 22 percent higher than 2012 levels.
  • While most metro areas saw substantial run-ups in prices during the boom, well above income growth, the subsequent market correction was in many cases more severe.
  • The level of affordability in most markets suggests a continued improvement in home prices, and strong growth in sales and construction.
  • Existing home sales are expected to pick-up as the house price recovery allows homeowners who have been forced on the sidelines by negative equity to get back into the market.

A short preview video and the complete February 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook are available here. Freddie Mac compiles data on major economic and housing and mortgage market indicators and offers forecasts based on those indicators.

Attributed to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

“Across the nation, most local housing markets have room for sustainable growth, particularly in home construction and sales. As the broader economy heals, expect to see more good news with house prices continuing their recent upward trend, and home sales and housing starts continuing to post strong growth rates. The macroeconomic recovery though 2011 helped to forestall further erosion in the depressed housing market. In return, housing is now ‘showing some love’ by contributing to economic growth, perhaps by adding close to 0.5 percentage points to 2013 GDP growth.”

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four homebuyers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing. www.FreddieMac.com. Twitter: @FreddieMac

Chad Wandler

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