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Fannie Weighs in on Housing and Economic Forecast

Fannie Mae [1] Economic and Strategic Research Group’s May 2018 Economic and Housing Outlook predicts continued economic growth throughout the rest of 2018. As we enter 2019, however, the GSE forecasts a potential change in that momentum.

According to Fannie’s May 2018 Economic and Housing Outlook [2], the GSE forecasts 2018’s full-year growth to hold steady at 2.7 percent. Fannie’s Outlook also predicts the Fed will institute two more interest rate hikes before year’s end.

“We remain confident that, despite a first-quarter hiccup, economic growth will pick up through the rest of 2018,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “There are signs that consumer spending is poised to strengthen in the months ahead, and we believe recent fiscal policy actions are likely to contribute to growth this year.”

But for 2019, the Outlook predicts a deceleration to 2.3 percent growth.

“Come 2019 … we expect the fiscal boost to fade, and we adjusted our forecast lower accordingly,” Duncan said. “We also note mounting downside risks to our projections, including growth-constraining protectionist trade policies and rising oil prices, among others. Meanwhile, housing’s upward grind should continue, despite a lackluster first quarter. We expect home sales to post modest gains both this year and next, as prices rise and affordability declines amid low for-sale inventory.”

Fannie forecasts 1.3 million housing starts by year’s end, compared to 1.2 million in 2017. Single-family housing starts are expected to experience 7.9 percent year-over-year (YOY) growth in 2018, as compared to 8.6 percent in 2017 and a predicted 5.4 percent in 2019.

Fannie anticipates new single-family home sales to grow 11.8 percent in 2018. In 2017, that number was 9.3 percent, but the forecast 2019 number drops all the way to 3.8 percent year-over-year. Existing-home sales are expected to remain mostly steady, with a predicted 1.5 percent YOY change in 2018 and 2019 forecast to come in at 1.2 percent.

Total home sales are anticipated to come in at 2.5 percent YOY for 2018, with 2019’s forecast slipping to 1.5 percent, slightly below 2017’s 1.9 percent growth.

To read all of Fannie Mae’s Economic and Housing Outlook data for May 2018, click here [2].