Economic Growth Outlook Less Upbeat for the Second Half of the Year

Aug 24, 2015, 09:00 ET from Fannie Mae

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The first print of second quarter economic growth was weaker than expected, and its composition presents a less optimistic outlook for the rest of the year, according to Fannie Mae's (OTC Bulletin Board: FNMA) Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group. The federal government's upward revision to first quarter growth was essentially offset in the second quarter, due in large part to a drop in nonresidential investment in equipment and structures. These factors, coupled with continued headwinds from a strong dollar and renewed declines in crude oil prices, are expected to continue to pose challenges in the current quarter, although consumer and government spending will likely provide support. Housing also is expected to contribute to 2015's growth, with year-to-date main housing indicators staying well above year-ago levels.

"While consumer spending growth picked up as we expected in the second quarter of this year, other components disappointed," said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. "However, incoming data suggest some upward revisions may be in the cards for the second quarter. Furthermore, job creation remains steady, with full-time employment getting closer to pre-recession numbers, and household net worth continues its gradual rise. On balance, our full-year growth outlook remains unchanged from the prior forecast at 2.1 percent."

"We hold by our previous comments that income growth still needs to strengthen, particularly for younger households, in order to drive significant housing growth, but we are nonetheless seeing some positive improvements in the housing sector," said Duncan. "Home sales have trended up and inventories are lean, supporting strong home price appreciation. That price growth, driven by laggard supply response, helps build equity for existing owners but is a headwind for first-time buyers. Given significant uncertainties from Greece and China, continued global monetary easing, and an expected slow pace of monetary tightening by the Fed, we anticipate mortgage rates to rise only gradually through next year, which should continue to help support mortgage demand."

Visit the Economic & Strategic Research site at www.fanniemae.com to read the full August 2015 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.

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