Another Second Quarter Rebound Likely to Follow First Quarter Slowdown

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Growth expectations for 2017 remain at 2.0%, according to the Fannie Mae Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group’s May 2017 Economic and Housing Outlook. For the fourth consecutive year, first quarter US growth slowed from the fourth quarter, partly reflecting ongoing seasonality issues. However, incoming data suggest that consumer spending growth will pick up this quarter.

Meanwhile, businesses will likely increase production in an effort to rebuild inventories, turning inventory investment into a positive for, instead of a large drag on, growth. Given the tight labor market, the ESR Group continues to expect rate hikes in June and September. Housing was a bright spot during the first quarter, and home sales performed well going into the spring season, thanks to solid labor market conditions and a recent retreat in mortgage rates.

“Once again, our full-year growth forecast remains intact as the economy grinds along, with the prospect of material policy changes appearing to be delayed,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “We expect consumer spending to resume its role as the biggest driver of growth in the second quarter amid improvements in the labor market. Positive demographic factors should continue to reshape the housing market, as rising employment and incomes appear to be positively influencing millennial homeownership rates. However, the tight supply of homes for sale continues to act as both a boon to home prices and an impediment to affordability.”

Visit the Economic & Strategic Research site at www.fanniemae.com to read the full May 2017 Economic Outlook, including the Economic Developments Commentary, Economic Forecast, Housing Forecast, and Multifamily Market Commentary.

(Source: Fannie Mae)

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