Skip to main content
Press Release

Economy Expected to End 2017 on a Cheerful Note

December 18, 2017

Matthew Classick


WASHINGTON, DC – The 2017 economic growth forecast increased one-tenth from the prior forecast to 2.5 percent due to the government’s upgraded third quarter GDP growth estimate and an expected solid fourth quarter finish, according to the Fannie Mae Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group’s December 2017 Economic and Housing Outlook. Consumer demand and investment spending growth are expected to pick up in the current quarter, offset partly by slowing inventory investment and the first drag from trade in a year. Business equipment investment, in particular, grew at its fastest pace in three years during the third quarter, hastened in part by a flurry of deregulation activity, a declining dollar, and strengthening economic growth abroad. With tax legislation potentially passing by year end, the ESR Group sees upside risk to growth but will need to review the final bill before assessing the impact. Absent tax reform, 2018 GDP growth is expected to decelerate to 2.1 percent. Consumer demand is expected to continue to sustain near-term growth as a strong labor market and surging stock and house prices helped push household net worth to a 70-plus-year high. On the heels of the Federal Open Market Committee’s recent decision to raise interest rates for the third time in 2017, the ESR Group predicts two additional hikes in 2018, with further tightening possible based on the potential impact of tax reform on the labor market and inflation.

“The economy appears poised to finish 2017 on a cheerful note as fundamentals increasingly align with strong business and consumer sentiment. Domestic demand is building momentum, job growth is solid and broad-based, and consumer spending looks likely to strengthen,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “If enacted, tax reform should be a net positive for GDP growth next year, which we currently have pegged at a modest 2.1 percent in the absence of tax law changes. As expected, the Fed raised rates once more last week and, barring inflationary pressure, is expected to tighten two more times in 2018. Finally, the housing market continues its upward grind, as it struggles to balance strong demand and house price appreciation with inventory shortages and affordability concerns.”

Visit the Economic & Strategic Research site at to read the full December 2017 Economic Outlook, including the Economic Developments Commentary, Economic Forecast, Housing Forecast, and Multifamily Market Commentary. To receive e-mail updates with other housing market research from Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group, please click here.

Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group included in these materials should not be construed as indicating Fannie Mae's business prospects or expected results, are based on a number of assumptions, and are subject to change without notice. How this information affects Fannie Mae will depend on many factors. Although the ESR Group bases its opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views on information it considers reliable, it does not guarantee that the information provided in these materials is accurate, current, or suitable for any particular purpose. Changes in the assumptions or the information underlying these views could produce materially different results. The analyses, opinions, estimates, forecasts, and other views published by the ESR Group represent the views of that group as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.

Fannie Mae helps make the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and affordable rental housing possible for millions of Americans. We partner with lenders to create housing opportunities for families across the country. We are driving positive changes in housing finance to make the home buying process easier, while reducing costs and risk. To learn more, visit and follow us on