Though mortgage rates jumped in September, they remain down from where they were a year ago. The U.S. weekly average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.64% for the week ending September 26th, down 1.08 percentage points from a year earlier. Rates fell for most of this year and lower rates have translated into a stronger housing market. Both home sales and housing construction are firming. We expect a significant increase in mortgage refinance originations in the coming quarters.
Strong consumer confidence should bolster consumer spending, helping to maintain positive economic growth. However, consumer spending will not offset the deceleration in government spending, business investment, and net exports. After averaging 2.6% in the first half of this year, we expect GDP to average 1.9% in the second half of 2019. For the full year 2019, we forecast 2.2% growth, decelerating to 1.8% in 2020.
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