As 2012 comes to a close, the U.S. housing market remains one of the bright spots of the economy.
In November, existing home sales rose 5.9% to an annualized rate of 5 million, beating Wall Street expectations. Last month was the 17th consecutive month of growth in the housing market and the highest level of sales since November 2009. The national price for an existing home also rose 10.1% to $180,600 in November.
"I think housing is going to continue to improve," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "So for the next 3 or 4 years we will see better home sales, more housing construction and higher house prices. All of which is good news for the economic recovery."
Even though there are roughly 3 million homes in foreclosure, Zandi is very optimistic about housing demand.
Here are the key points of his housing outlook for next year and beyond:
- The recovery has legs for the next 2-4 years.
- Expect a rise in sales, construction and prices, which could positively impact GDP. "Housing is a small share of GDP but can be a big part of GDP growth," he says.
- Investor demand for foreclosed properties will be high.
- An increasing rate of household formation will lead to greater demand.
- New home construction will pick up.
- Home prices will rise by mid-to-high single digits in 2014 and 2015.
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