Despite some bumps in the road, the housing upturn is “intact” and rising home prices are expected to boost household net worth and offset fiscal tightening, according to a monthly economic outlook released today by economists at Fannie Mae.
Tight inventories continue to restrain sales of existing homes. Although the number of homes on the market grew by nearly 10 percent from January to February, the 1.94 million homes for sale represented a 19.2 percent decline from the same time a year ago.
Pending sales of existing homes dipped 0.4 percent from January to February, but remained at their second-highest level in nearly three years, according to the National Association of Realtors.
New-home sales also slipped from January to February and builder confidence was down for the second month in a row in March. But housing starts reached a near five-year high in February and new-home sales climbed 12.3 percent year-over-year.
Fannie Mae economists project that existing-home sales, which were up 9.4 percent last year, wlll grow by an additional 10.5 percent this year, to 5.15 million homes, and by 6.2 percent in 2014, to nearly 5.5 million homes. Sales of new single-family homes are expected to post even stronger growth — 15.1 percent this year and 44.1 percent in 2014.