The U.S. appears to be in a recession that could drive unemployment up to 7.7 percent by the end of next year, but keep interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages around 6 percent, the Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts. The bottom line for housing is that while existing-home sales are projected to rebound slightly in 2009, residential investment will continue to decline in the first half of next year and new-home sales won't bounce back until 2010, said MBA Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann. "Credit markets continue to be dysfunctional and the recent intensification of the credit crunch is hitting an already weakened economy," Brinkmann said in a statement announcing the MBA's latest economic forecast. Rates for fixed-rate mortgages have ticked up to around 6.5 percent in recent weeks in response to policymakers' programs to recapitalize banks and insure financial institutions. But Brinkmann expects demand for long-term debt will bring 30-year fixed-rate mor...
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