The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported in the first estimate for Q1 on Wednesday that real GDP grew at an annualized rate of just zero point 2 percent during the quarter, only a fraction of the 2.8 percent that has been projected for the year. The real GDP grew at a rate of 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 and 2.4 percent for the entire year. Despite the report of economic growth nearly grinding to a halt in the first Q1 estimate, however, economists' outlook for growth for the remainder of the year, particularly in relation to housing, remained unchanged.
Fannie Mae has maintained its forecast for GDP growth of 2.8 percent this year and its position that the economy will drag housing upward in 2015. Fannie Mae chief economist and SVP Doug Duncan pointed out that the actuals as far as housing – existing home sales, new home sales, and prices – were either at or very close to their predicted levels during Q1, and mortgage purchase applications have been way up for the last couple of months.
The Federal Housing Administration responded in the Federal Register on Wednesday to comments on the alternative path to claim payment – the Mortgagee Optional Election Assignment – for certain Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, which centers on the delaying of foreclosure on a surviving non-borrowing spouse following a borrowing spouse's death. In the four and a half week-comment period, FHA received seven comments on the issue, mainly asking for clarification of eligibility requirements for HECM relief in such cases.