December 24th, 2011 10:56 AM by Lehel S.
Mortgage rates are expected to remain very low at least through mid-2012, while housing activity improves slightly, according to Freddie Mac’s economic and housing outlook released Wednesday.
The outlook also projects fewer single-family home-loan originations but more multifamily lending in 2012. The rental market is likely to lead growth in the lending industry, though parts of the country will also benefit from increased activity in the single-family home market.
High unemployment and a glut of foreclosed properties have depressed the housing market in recent years, despite extremely low interest rates that have made borrowing more attractive.
“While the headwinds remain strong going into 2012, there are indications the economy and the housing market are gaining ground, albeit slowly,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “All told, next year will be another bumpy ride.”
Job growth must accelerate beyond the average monthly payroll gains of 130,000 seen this year through November for the unemployment to decrease significantly. Even then, the mortgage company predicted the unemployment rate will remain above 8% in 2012.
Freddie Mac predicts the U.S. economy will grow by about 2.5% next year.