"This month kicks off spring home buying season," says Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. "Between now and the end of June, we’ll see about 40 percent of all home sales for the year."
It’s that optimism that has Freddie Mac forecasters expecting 2015 "to be the best year for home sales and new home construction since 2007, when total home sales were about 5.8 million for the year," according to their U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for March.
An improving job market is driving young professionals, ages 25 to 34, back to the labor force. The millennial age group now has 76.8 percent of its generation employed, as of last month, up from 75.9 percent last year.
Freddie Mac economists predict that rents will continue to rise at or above inflation this year, which will likely push more prospective buyers into home ownership. Rents rose 3.6 percent, on average, in 2014, and are up nearly 11 percent over the last three years, according to Freddie Mac’s report.
Meanwhile, Freddie Mac economists expect that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to rise slightly this year to a 4 percent average. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.86 percent this week.