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The Bitter and the Sweet

Freddie Mac July 2014 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook

MCLEAN, VA--(Marketwired - July 21, 2014) - Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) released today its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for July, showing mixed data results for the housing recovery as we head into the second half of the year. A short preview video and the complete July 2014 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook and forecast table are available here.

Outlook Highlights

  • Projecting that new housing construction will increase about 14 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. Housing starts for 2014 are forecast to be 1.05 million dwellings with multifamily accounting for about one-third.
  • After a disappointing first part of the year, expect home sales to play catch up and accelerate for the remainder of the year. As such, our home sales forecast remains at 5.4 million, a slippage of about 2 percent compared to last year. Existing sales are projected to be 3 percent lower, whereas new home sales are projected up by 10 to 15 percent.
  • The employment picture has improved, with a net monthly growth of 231,000 nonfarm jobs for the first half of 2014. Stronger employment will translate into more household formations and a pickup in rental housing demand, with future gains for the single-family sales market.
  • Single-family mortgage originations are down following a lackluster spring home buying season and a sharp drop in refinance. For this reason, the mortgage originations forecast for 2014 was reduced by 6 percent to $1,175 billion.
  • We expect fixed mortgage rates to rise very gradually during the year in keeping with the Fed's plan to keep interest rates low at this time. Look for the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate to end the year still near historic lows at around 4.4 percent.

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

"Although the economic news for the first half of 2014 has been bittersweet, there is good news to share as we head into the latter half of summer. In particular, employment was up by nearly 1.4 million during the first six months and this will bolster household formations, resulting in positive gains most immediately for the rental housing market and then, longer term, for single-family home sales. The multifamily rental market has led the rest of the housing sector into recovery, and about one-third of housing starts in the first quarter were for multifamily rental apartments. There's no question the single-family recovery is moving slowly, but it continues to doggedly press forward and we are cautiously optimistic."

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 home borrowers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing. Additional information is available at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac's blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

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