The old saying, I believe, is that if you placed all the economists in the world end to end, they'd still be unable to reach a conclusion. That said, Frank Nothaft of Freddie Mac has always been a bit more conclusive than most, so I thought I'd give him his say on 2012.
I suggest you keep this blog item stored somewhere on your hard drive till the end of 2012 to see how well he did.
Nothaft believes that economic growth will strengthen to about 2.5 percent in 2012, while the unemployment rate will drop but remain above 8 percent. Mortgage rates, still hovering at 4 percent, will remain low, at least through mid-year.
Housing activity will be better than 2011, but not robust, he said.
Finally, Nothaft expects the drought affecting lending to builders for construction of single-family houses to remain during the year, but financing of multifamily projects – booming for the last 18 months compared with all other housing sectors – to increase.