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Fannie Mae stays bullish on U.S. economy in 2016

The U.S. economy should pick up in the final three months of the year and in 2016 on greater consumer spending and an improved labor picture, Fannie Mae said in its latest forecast.

The mortgage giant predicted that growth would clock in at 2.2 percent for all of 2015, and accelerate to 2.4 percent next year. Fannie said slow global growth should slacken demand for U.S. exports and cool the manufacturing sector's output, but a stronger labor market should increase consumer spending.

“We see consumer spending as the biggest driver of growth moving into 2016, backed by positive fundamentals including an improving labor market and household net worth,” said Fannie’s Chief Economist Doug Duncan in a news release.

Duncan noted an uptick in hourly wages and lower unemployment numbers in October. Recent studies have also indicated that people are more comfortable using their credit cards, and that banks have loosened lending standards.  

Duncan had only mixed things to say about the housing market, however. He noted that housing starts remain low, which had led to increases in home prices.

“While this helps boost home equity, it hurts affordability, especially for potential first-time homebuyers,” he said. Duncan predicted that mortgage rates will stay low and help home affordability. Home sales will increase in 2016, but at a slower pace, Duncan said.  


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