Economists Say Recession Unlikely in 2020
Real Estate In-Depth | December 2019
WASHINGTON—A group of top economists arrived at a consensus 2020 economic and real estate forecast recently at the National Association of Realtors first-ever Real Estate Forecast Summit. The economists who gathered at NAR’s Washington, D.C. headquarters expect the U.S. economy to continue expanding next year while projecting real estate prices will rise and reiterating that a recession remains unlikely.
These economists predicted a 29% probability of a recession in 2020 with forecasted Gross Domestic Product growth of 2.0% in 2020 and 1.9% in 2021. The group expects an annual unemployment rate of 3.7% next year with a small rise to 3.9% in 2021.
When asked if the Federal Open Market Committee will change the federal funds rate in 2020, 69% of the economists said at the Dec. 11th session that they expect no change, while 31% expect the committee will lower the rate next year.
The average annual 30-year fixed mortgage rates of 3.8% and 4.0% are expected for 2020 and 2021, respectively. Annual median home prices are forecast to increase by 3.6% in 2020 and by 3.5% in 2021.
“Real estate is on firm ground with little chance of price declines,” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “However, in order for the market to be healthier, more supply is needed to assure home prices as well as rents do not consistently outgrow income gains.”
Apartment rents are expected to rise 3.8% and 3.6%, respectively, in 2020 and 2021. According to the group of economists, annual commercial real estate prices will climb 3.6% in 2020 and 3.4% in 2021.
“Residential and commercial real estate investment remains attractive as we approach the start of a new decade,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco. “Increased home building can serve as a stimulator for the overall economy, and we strongly encourage more homes to be built as buyer demand remains strong.”
The 2019 NAR Real Estate Forecast Summit consensus forecasts are compiled as averages of the responses of 14 leading economists who participated during the summit. The survey was conducted from Dec. 2-5, 2019.