Freddie Mac predicted that 2015 will see the highest level of home sales in the U.S. since 2007 in its December 2014 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook released on Tuesday.
In the report, Freddie Mac looked back at five key consensus predictions for 2014, how they fared, and how they will affect housing and the economy next year. In addition to home sales, the four other areas examined were mortgage originations, home values, rental market, and mortgage rates.
A 4 percent jump is expected for home sales up to 5.6 million in 2015, which would be the highest annual level home sales have experience since 2007, according to the report. A weaker than expected economy and a harsh winter brought down home sales for the first half of 2014 in spite of the healthy gains that were predicted at the start of the year. But home sales and the economy made a strong comeback for the second half of 2014, and analysts expect that recovery to continue on into 2015.
Home price gains experienced moderate gains in 2014, as were predicted following the double-digit increases in 2013. In 2014, home value gains grew at a rate of 4.5 percent, and in 2015, they are expected to increase by 3.0 percent, according to the report. Rental vacancies fell to their lowest level since 2000 in the last year, and 30-year fixed mortgage rates are expected to average 4.4 percent in 2015 after hovering just below 4 percent in December.
"The recent drop in oil prices has been an unexpected boon for consumers' pocketbooks and most businesses," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "Economic growth has picked up over the final nine months of 2014 and lower energy costs are expected to support growth of about 3 percent for the U.S. in 2015. Therefore we expect the housing market to continue to strengthen with home sales rising to their best sales pace in eight years, national house price indexes up, and rental markets continuing to display low vacancy rates and the highest level of new apartment completions in 25 years."