Recovering Housing Market to Spur Economic Recovery in New Year
By Krista Franks Brock
Next year will likely be the first year since 2000 that home purchases outpace refinances, according to Freddie Mac's expectations. Furthermore, the rallying housing market should set the broader economy on a brighter path, according to Freddie Mac's U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for November.
“Led by a resurgent housing sector, 2014 should shape up to be better than 2013,” Freddie Mac stated in its outlook.
Housing starts, which have been slow, should rise to a pace of about 1.15 million in 2014, according to Freddie Mac.
This is more in line with the historical average of 1.1 million per year reported by the Census Bureau. In comparison, the Census Bureau recently reported household formation over the first three quarters of this year at just 380,000.
Freddie Mac expects home sales to increase 5 or 6 percent in the new year, but tight inventory will prevent further increases.
Home values will continue to increase, albeit at a slower pace. Freddie Mac expects home price growth to be about the same as home sales growth—5 or 6 percent.
Rental prices will also continue to rise, but like housing prices, their pace will moderate. Freddie Mac expects rents to rise at a pace of about 5.3 percent next year.
Mortgage rates will reach about 5 percent for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages by the end of 2014, according to Freddie Mac. While this will not threaten affordability in most markets, it may dampen affordability in a few higher-priced markets, according to the outlook.
Also, Freddie Mac noted there may be “some volatility in the short-term” resulting from uncertainty surrounding fiscal policies, such as the debt ceiling and the Federal Reserve's tapering of its MBS purchases.
The overall good news for the housing market translates to good news for the broader economy, according to Freddie Mac.
The rise in housing starts should translate to 700,000 new jobs, according to economists at Freddie Mac.
These new jobs will help bring the unemployment rate below 7 percent “perhaps by mid-2014,” Freddie Mac stated.
Economic growth is expected at 2.5 to 3 percent for the year, which is “more than 0.5 percentage points better than is projected for 2013,” according to Freddie Mac.