Fannie Mae’s economists see signs of a strengthening economy but say the housing market still faces headwinds.
In its April Economic Outlook, Fannie Mae says excess inventory and foreclosure sales are hindering the housing market. New home sales are at record lows and will be slow to recover until inventory of existing homes and foreclosure overhang are worked off, Fannie Mae says. Read more.
The number of vacant housing units in the United States increased to a record 19 million in the first quarter of the year, up from 18.9 million in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department reported Monday. About 14.5% of homes were vacant, with 4.4 million available to be rented and 2 million available to be sold. Read more.
Builders broke ground on more U.S. homes in March than anticipated and took out permits at the fastest pace in more than a year, a sign the weakest part of the economy has stabilized.
Housing starts climbed to an annual rate of 626,000 last month, up 1.6 per cent from February’s 616,000 pace, Commerce Department figures showed. Building permits, a sign of future construction, climbed to the highest level since October 2008. Read more.