Politics & MoneyMortgage

Fannie Mae: “Housing remains worrisome”

Second quarter looking up despite rough start to year

Despite a rocky start to the year, the second quarter will paint a much different picture, with recent indicators suggesting that the economy will pick back up in the second quarter.

According to the latest Fannie Mae housing report, March and April presented strong reports for consumers, paving the way for a strong second quarter.

“We have downgraded our May forecast slightly from April following a very weak first quarter, but we anticipate economic growth to gain momentum in the second quarter and remain firm throughout the rest of this year,” said Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan.

But even with these indicators, Duncan noted, "The housing picture remains more worrisome, with existing home sales, new home sales, housing starts, and multifamily housing all experiencing year-over-year declines."

“We believe this year will likely be a bump in the long-term road back toward normal levels, which we continue to expect sometime in late 2016,” he added.

March recorded positive consumer spending in both goods and services, while April auto sales marked the second consecutive month of at least 16 million annualized units – the first time since 2007.

Meanwhile, business capital also improved, with core capital goods orders increasing 3.5% in March to the highest nominal reading on record.

The April jobs report also helped show a jump in hiring at the fastest pace in more than two years.

“Reduced drag both from government spending and fiscal policy uncertainty as well as improving financial and labor market conditions should contribute to a rebound, but the sizable down draft from the first quarter likely will keep full-year growth subdued,” Duncan said. “Overall, we expect economic growth to accelerate to just over 3% on an annualized basis in the current quarter, and to come in at 2.4 percent for all of 2014.”

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