Freddie Mac released today its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for January this week showing that while the economy is undoubtedly in a better place than the same time a year ago, a speedy recovery still seems unlikely this year. “With the new year comes a sense of cautious optimism,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac, vice president and chief economist. “There are some positive signs in the job market and consumer confidence; housing is starting to raise hopes for continued gradual economic recovery. But the economy still is giving some mixed messages.” According to the survey economic growth will likely strengthen to about 2.1 percent in the first quarter; the current U.S. unemployment rate of 8.5 percent is likely to increase after seasonal gains are reversed; mortgage rates are projected to remain very low, at least in the beginning of 2012; home sales are expected to grow between two and five percent year-over-year and the housing-market recovery will be delayed as long as there remains a large gap between buyer and seller sentiment. Also this week Freddie Mac announced the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged down slightly to 3.88 percent to a new all-time record low marking the seventh consecutive week below 4.00 percent.
(Image Credit: Freddie Mac)