February 22, 2011 (Shirley Allen)Despite data indicating otherwise, Fannie Mae is predicting that it expects housing starts to triple by 2013. According to the agency’s economic outlook, housing starts are predicted to increase 17.3 percent and hit 710,000 this year, with another 47 percent increase to 1.1 million in 2012 and another gain of 42 percent in 2013 to nearly 1.5 million.
However, based on January’s data, their prediction may be a little over optimistic. Data in January saw housing starts jump 15 percent compared to December for a total of 596,000 seasonally adjusted units, but building permits were down 22.4 percent, which is a sign of future building activity.
The highlight of the January housing report is the robust 80% gain in multi-family housing as single-family home construction dropped 1 percent compared to December. Multi-family construction is expected to increase as the housing crisis and tighter lending standards increase the number of renters.
In 2010, there were approximately 587,000 housing starts, that includes single family and multi-family units.
“We expect a small rise in home sales this year, but significant amounts of supply and shadow inventory of expected foreclosures will continue to hamper a robust housing picture for some time,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist.
Fannie Mae projects total sales of new and existing homes to climb 4.5% in 2011 to 5.43 million, following an estimated decline of 6% for 2010 to about 5.2 million from 5.53 million for 2009. Mortgage originations will drop to $1.04 trillion this year from $1.53 trillion last year. Fannie Mae also expects mortgage rates will increase in 2011, but with rates remaining under 5.5 percent.
The median new home price in 2011 is expected to drop, as is the median existing home sale price, down 2.1% to $214,500 and 2.1% to $167,900, respectively, due to the large amount of competing foreclosures expected to enter the housing market this year.