Freddie Mac’s November 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook showed that the major shift for 2014 will be a transition from a refinance-dominated mortgage market to the first purchase-dominated market the industry has seen since 2000.
We can also expect economic growth in the 2.5 to 3.0 percent range, more than 0.5 percentage points better than was projected for 2013, with the unemployment rate falling below 7 percent, perhaps by mid-2014.
Interest rates are expected to rise gradually throughout 2014, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ending the year near 5 percent, with affordability still strong in most markets. However, rising rates will hinder affordability in high-priced markets.
Housing starts are projected to rise to a pace of 1.15 million in 2014, which should help to create around 700,000 new jobs and quicken the pace of economic growth.
Gains in home sales will be limited by continuing tight inventory in many markets, however, the report anticipates sales to rise about 5 to 6 percent in 2014 from 2013 levels.
In addition, according to the report, expect home values to continue rising but at a more moderate pace, around 5 to 6 percent annualized. And expect multifamily property investments to continue to be relatively attractive, compared with the first decade of the 2000s, based on the Freddie Mac Multifamily Investment Index.
“With the close of 2013 will also come a major transition in the housing finance industry,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “For the first time since 2000, we’re going to see the mortgage market dominated by purchase activity as the refinance share drops below 50 percent. And with mortgage rates rising, we’re also going to see the home-sales gain, as well as the impressive house-price growth begin to moderate to more sustainable levels.”
For more information, visit www.FreddieMac.com.