The February 2012 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook from Freddie Mac showed that there is some optimism that the current economic and residential housing market situations will improve as the year goes on.
The report noted that job gains have improved noticeably over the past two months, but fewer consumers have willingly left their jobs. In addition, unemployment has declined to 8.3 percent, and fewer Americans are applying for unemployment benefits. Consumer sentiment was also dialed back during January, while homebuilder confidence improved.
"The US economy continues to build on the momentum from the end of last year," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac. "Our outlook anticipates gradual, but steady, improvement in the economy and the housing market, supported by low interest rates and brightening job market prospects."
Mortgage rates are expected to remain low for the rest of the year, and this could help improve the housing market notably by next year, the report said. This, coupled with continued affordability, may make more consumers purchase homes or refinance their mortgages.