2020 Housing Market Expectations

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Freddie Mac released its newest housing forecast This Week in Real Estate predicting sub 4.0 percent mortgage rates through 2021 as well as 6 million, 6.1 million and 6.2 million home sales in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Below are a few highlights from the last week of November that influence our business:

Freddie Mac: Here’s What to Expect From The Housing Market in 2020 and Beyond. In Freddie Mac’s newest housing market forecast, the company’s economic and housing research group states that they expect mortgage rates to remain around 3.8% for the rest of 2019 and stay at that level for all of 2020 and 2021. Overall home sales are also expected to rise in each of the next two years. According to Freddie Mac, it expects to see 6 million home sales in 2019, 6.1 million home sales in 2020, and 6.2 million in 2021. Freddie Mac expects there to be $2.101 trillion in total mortgage originations in 2019, $2.132 trillion in originations in 2020, and $1.798 trillion in 2021. “Given low-interest rates, modest inflation, and a solid labor market, the U.S. housing market continues to stand firm, and, our forecast is for the housing market to maintain momentum over the next two years,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Low Mortgage Rates Will Push Home Lending to 12-Year High. Low mortgage rates will push home lending this year to a 12-year high of $2.07 trillion, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a forecast. The volume for mortgages to purchase homes probably will total $1.27 trillion, the highest since the peak of the housing bubble in 2006, according to the group’s November 20 forecast. Refinancing probably will reach $796 billion, the most since 2016, the MBA said.

Pending Home Sales Decline, But Still in Strong Territory. Pending home sales slipped in October after two months of solid gains. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said it’s Pending Home Sale Index (PHSI), a leading indicator of existing home sales, retreated 1.7 percent to 106.7 in October. The Index had gained an aggregate of 4 percentage points over the previous two months. The PHSI was up 4.4 percent from its reading in October 2018. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, noted the decline in inventory and a small rise in mortgage rates from the prior month to explain, in part, the October decline in contract activity. “While contract signings have decreased, the overall economic landscape remains favorable,” Yun said. “Mortgage rates continue to be low at below 4 percent – which will attract buyers – employment levels are strong and many recession claims have dissipated.” October’s contract signings were lower than September in all regions except the Northeast, however, all four retained a year-over-year edge. The PHSI in the West was down 3.4 percent to 91.9 but grew 7.5 percent on an annual basis.  

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