Freddie Mac’s Economic and Housing Market Outlook for the month of January shows that the mortgage giant predicts the economic recovery will continue to progress slowly throughout 2012 while the housing market continues to stabilize.
Despite seeing some improvement during the last months of 2011, economists expect that home sales will only grow between 2 to 5 percent this year. Existing home sales increased in November, according to Freddie Mac, helping reduce the inventory carried over into 2012. Economists predict that mortgage rates will remain low, offering homebuyers a more affordable market.
Freddie Mac reports that the recovery will likely move slowly, largely in part because of the gap between buyer and seller attitudes about the housing market. According to a survey conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute, 80 percent of households say now is a good time to purchase a home while only 7.6 percent of respondents say it is a good time to put homes on the market.
“With the new year comes a sense of cautious optimism,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac. “There are some positive signs in the job market and consumer confidence; housing is starting to raise hopes for continued gradual economic recover.”