Welcome to the new DSNews.com. Existing-home sales increased 1% month-over-month to an annualized rate of 4.87 million in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. At the same time, November's numbers were revised downward. Even with prices and mortgage rates slated to rise, NAR says sales should hold fairly steady in 2014 as job numbers improve.
Experts at Freddie Mac and Equifax echoed those sentiments. They expect falling unemployment and economic growth to keep the housing market on solid ground in 2014. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac, says the economy should increase by 2.5% to 3% this year, which should empower more consumers to buy homes, but there's still a long road ahead and a lot of healing left to do.
Equifax's chief economist Amy Crews Cutts says one thing to keep an eye on is the pace of household formations in the months ahead. Cutts pointed out that the number of new households created annually fell sharply when the recession hit—and she's not expecting much change in 2014. Farther down the line, though, she says the lack of buying today could trigger a swell of pent-up demand, once these prospective homeowners start to feel more financially secure.