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The national economic outlook looks less robust going into the second half although modest growth is still expected, Fannie Mae said in its latest economic and strategic research group.
One "bright spot" is housing, the government-sponsored enterprise said.
Home sales increased by 9% in the most recent Fannie report while single-family starts are up almost 20% year-over-year. Further, the share of polled consumers who say they would buy a home if they were going to move increased by 6 percentage points to the highest level seen in the survey’s two-year history.
"The data from the past month collectively point to decelerating economic growth, but growth nonetheless," said Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan. "It's now clear that our bias toward downside risks noted in the June forecast have materialized, pushing down our already modest growth projections. However, despite signs of deteriorating momentum for economic activity, housing continues to be a bright spot as news from the housing market has been relatively upbeat, presenting a rare upside boost to the economy."
Sluggish overall growth expectations are attributed partly to June data which shows fewer hires when compared to the first-quarter's monthly average. Not to mention, fears that the European debt crisis will impact domestic financial markets.
Fannie said the current estimate for 2012 gross domestic product growth has been reduced from 2.2% to 2%.
Still, homeowners are confident with the June National Housing Survey showing that homeowners are now more confident when forecasting home price expectations for the next year. Low interest rates also are buoying confidence with more polled consumers—a six-percentage point increase to be exact—saying they would buy a home if they were going to move.
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