MCLEAN, VA--(Marketwired - Mar 19, 2014) - Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) released today its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for March, showing that despite rising mortgage rates and house prices, home sales will continue to increase this year as the labor market tightens and wages grow. A short preview video, and the complete March 2014 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook, are available here.
- Projecting home sales to be up 3 percent in 2014, with new home construction increasing by almost 20 percent and house price appreciation moderating to an annual growth of 5 percent in 2014.
- Despite substantial progress, the labor market remains below its potential, with unemployment stubbornly high at 6.7 percent and total nonfarm payrolls below peak levels.
- In December 2007, the employment-to-population ratio was 62.7 percent. In February 2014, that ratio had declined to 58.8 percent.
- Of the 3.9 percentage point decline in the employment-to-population ratio, about 40 percent was driven by retiring baby boomers between December 2007 and February 2014.
- In February, construction employment was 5.9 million, 1.5 million less than December 2007.
- In February, annual growth in wages was at 2.5 percent, well above consumer price inflation.
Attributed to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.
"In order to have solid home sales in 2014 we need to see continued improvement in the labor market. Demographic headwinds have accounted for about 40 percent of the decline in the employment-to-population ratio. The remaining 60 percent is due largely to cyclical factors. Manufacturing and construction are the two sectors that have been slowest to recover. With increased economic growth these two sectors should start to improve. With more jobs, wage growth should continue to accelerate giving American households much needed income to help sustain the emerging purchase market."
Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation's residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing. For more information please visit www.FreddieMac.com. Twitter: @FreddieMac