Home Sales, Mortgage Originations Likely to Begin Slow Recovery in 2024
WASHINGTON, DC – Single-family home sales likely bottomed out in Q4 2023 and, due to the recent pullback in mortgage rates, are expected to begin a slow but meaningful recovery over the course of the next year, alongside upward-trending mortgage origination activity, according to the December 2023 commentary from the Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTCQB) Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group. Purchase mortgage applications have rebounded approximately 15 percent from their trough in November, a trend that the ESR Group expects to continue if mortgage rates continue to slide. However, the same dynamics that kept home sales in 2023 at their lowest level since the Great Financial Crisis, including affordability challenges, the lock-in effect, and a lack of homes available for sale, will likely persist in 2024. As such, the ESR Group expects the home sales recovery to be meaningful but slow.
The ESR Group also continues to forecast a modest downturn in 2024, followed by a return to growth in 2025, noting that many of the underlying business cycle dynamics that contributed to last year’s recession call remain. While the likelihood of a soft landing has certainly improved over the last few months, engineering it while avoiding a resurgence in inflation will likely be a difficult task.
“Last week’s comments by Chairman Powell, as well as the Federal Reserve’s updated Summary of Economic Projections, suggest increased Fed confidence that a soft landing has been achieved and inflation is headed sustainably to 2 percent,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Clearly, the many economic forecasters who previously forecasted a recession beginning in 2023 were wrong, including us. However, we continue to think there are reasons for concern that will likely lead to a mild economic downturn, including stretched consumer spending relative to personal incomes and the continued effects of restrictive monetary policy still working through the economy. Although we expect headline growth to clock in at 2.6 percent in 2023 – above what is generally considered to be the economy’s long-term growth potential of 1.8 percent – we’re also forecasting slightly negative growth in 2024.”
Duncan continued: “Notwithstanding the recent mortgage rate rally, housing and mortgage markets will enter 2024 at approximately the same level as they entered 2023. Thus, while we think home sales will start to rise over the new year, the combination of modest increases in home prices and still-elevated interest rates suggest a slow pace of recovery from previously recessionary levels of housing activity.”
Visit the Economic & Strategic Research site at fanniemae.com to read the full December 2023 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.
About the ESR Group
Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group, led by Chief Economist Doug Duncan, studies current data, analyzes historical and emerging trends, and conducts surveys of consumer and mortgage lender groups to provide forecasts and analyses on the economy, housing, and mortgage markets. The ESR Group was awarded the prestigious 2022 Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Forecast Accuracy based on the accuracy of its macroeconomic forecasts published over the 4-year period from 2018 to 2021.
About Fannie Mae
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