Mixed Data Complicates Economic Forecast, though Recession Remains Likely
WASHINGTON, DC – Mixed data has painted a muddled picture of macroeconomic conditions in recent months, though a recession remains the most likely outcome of the rapid tightening of monetary policy and late-stage business cycle dynamics, according to the June 2023 commentary from the Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTCQB) Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group. While inflation has moderated partly due to slowing domestic and global economic growth, the ESR Group believes continued robustness in the labor market risks an entrenchment of some core inflationary pressures. Lessons learned from the inflationary era of the 1970-80s, a time when price pressures eased and then quickly reaccelerated, lead the ESR Group to expect that the Fed will maintain its restrictive monetary policy stance until it is abundantly clear that inflation pressures from the labor market have eased. However, based on the timing of data releases, that evidence is unlikely to appear until a recession is already unavoidable, making the question of a downturn more a matter of “when” than “if,” according to the ESR Group.
Current housing market dynamics continue to be fueled by the lack of existing homes available for sale, a trend that did not improve during the spring homebuying season, when more homes are typically put on the market. This has supported a return to home price growth in recent months and continued to boost new home construction. While the ESR Group continues to expect housing starts to weaken in coming quarters, this is predicated on the business cycle turning. In the absence of a recession, the ESR Group notes substantial upside risk to its new home sales and starts forecasts.
“Core inflation remains sticky, having not fallen as rapidly as other price measures, creating upside risk to the fed funds rate, as noted in the Federal Reserve's Summary of Economic Projections, and making it likely in our view that it maintains a restrictive posture for longer than most market participants initially anticipated,” said Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Fannie Mae. “Meanwhile, housing prices continue to show stronger growth than what was previously expected given the suddenness and significant magnitude of mortgage rate increases. Housing's performance is a testimony to the strength of demographic-related demand in the face of Baby Boomers aging in place and Gen-Xers locking in historically low rates, both of which have helped keep housing supply at historically low levels. Homebuilders continue to add to that supply, but years of meager homebuilding over the past business cycle means the imbalance will likely continue for some time. We do expect housing will be supportive of the overall economy as it exits the modest recession.”
Visit the Economic & Strategic Research site at fanniemae.com to read the full June 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 recently 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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