January 20, 20172017 Outlook: Will Policy Changes Extend the Expansion?
WASHINGTON, DC – Despite a strong year-end performance by the stock market and a post-election jump in confidence among consumers and businesses, limited information on the new Administration’s potential economic policies led to a conservative 2017 growth projection of 2.0 percent, according to the Fannie Mae Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group’s January 2017 Economic and Housing Outlook. Improved consumer spending in the third quarter drove a slight upward revision from the prior forecast; moreover, a friendly labor market and rising household wealth should continue to support consumers. Business fixed investment is expected to pick up – particularly in the equipment space – as the drag from declining oil prices faded and should add to 2017 growth. Additionally, government spending and inventory investment are expected to add to growth this year, while the dollar should continue to weigh heavily on net exports. Mortgage rates are predicted to rise gradually in the coming year, ultimately reaching a fourth quarter average of 4.3 percent. There is risk that rates could rise faster and higher than forecasted, but the impact on housing could be offset by strengthened income growth.
“Policy changes under the new Administration – in its nature, sequencing, and magnitude – will determine the direction of economic growth in 2017,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “Incoming data suggest improving consumer spending, diminished labor market slack, and advancements in wages, but until we can more clearly read the political tea leaves, it’s difficult to say whether this late-cycle expansion will continue into its eighth year. Thus our theme for the year: Will Policy Changes Extend the Expansion? If stimulus policy is enacted, it would likely add to growth but could also be offset by potential tightened trade policy given the already historically strong dollar.”
“We expect housing to remain resilient and continue its recovery in 2017, with affordability standing out as the industry’s greatest obstacle, particularly for first-time homeowners,” added Duncan. “Demographic factors, however, are positive. Our research shows that older Millennials have begun to buy homes and close the homeownership attainment gap with their predecessors.”
Visit the Economic & Strategic Research site at www.fanniemae.com to read the full January 2017 Economic Outlook, including the Economic Developments Commentary, Economic Forecast, Housing Forecast, and Multifamily Market Commentary. To receive e-mail updates with other housing market research from Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group, please click here.
Opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views of Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group included in these materials should not be construed as indicating Fannie Mae's business prospects or expected results, are based on a number of assumptions, and are subject to change without notice. How this information affects Fannie Mae will depend on many factors. Although the ESR Group bases its opinions, analyses, estimates, forecasts, and other views on information it considers reliable, it does not guarantee that the information provided in these materials is accurate, current, or suitable for any particular purpose. Changes in the assumptions or the information underlying these views could produce materially different results. The analyses, opinions, estimates, forecasts, and other views published by the ESR Group represent the views of that group as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.
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