forecast published on the MBA's web site. There forecast has no shortage of insights. For instance, the U.S. has added 4.8 million renters since 2008, and has lost 1.7 million homeowners. The association also has a few predictions for 2013 related to the housing market -- predictions that suggest the housing market specifically, and the U.S. economy in general, should see more slivers of sunlight in 2013 than in 2012.
Our forecast is based on expectations of very modest increases in economic growth in 2013 relative to 2012, but growth nonetheless," Brinkmann says. "We expect gross domestic product to rise 2% in 2013 versus only 1.6% in 2012, about equal to the growth rate in 2011 but well below the 3.1% growth rate we saw in 2010." A stronger housing market, a "small" hike in consumer spending and stronger business investment should help push the U.S. economy forward, the MBA says. But that growth is well below what we need for a robust market in home sales, construction, and purchase originations," Brinkmann says. The MBA adds all bets are off if the U.S. Congress ignores the imminent "fiscal cliff" coming Jan. 1, when large tax increases and spending cuts are scheduled to go into effect. If Congress fails to act, the MBA says it will affect the U.S. economy severely and likely cut up to 4% off its overall growth forecasts. Overall, it's a moderately positive outlook from the nation's banking leaders. Considering what U.S. consumers have seen over the past few years, at least it beats falling back into recession.