MCLEAN, Va. – Aug. 17, 2011 – Despite the recent ups and downs in the capital markets, Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for August finds room for optimism. First, an extended period of both low short- and long-term interest rates should help as the market continues to struggle.
• The employment number was up 117,000, the best showing since April, and the unemployment rate edged down a tenth to 9.1 percent.
• Over the first half of 2011, growth was figured to be about 0.8 percent at an annual rate – positive but too weak to generate enough jobs to keep pace with labor force growth.
• Compared with the first quarter of 2008, borrowers are paying about $130 billion less in mortgage interest today, at an annual rate.
• The likelihood of an extended period of both relatively low short- and long-term interest rates is helpful news for the housing market’s recovery.
• Interest rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans – a popular choice for refinancing borrowers – reached about 3.5 percent in early August, assuring the refinance boom continues.
• The Freddie Mac House Price Index for the U.S. shows that prices are down 25 percent, on average, as of June 2011 compared with their peak obtained five years ago.
The complete August 2011 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook is available on Freddie Mac’s website.