It appears we were fairly accurate in our predictions for 2012. This time last year we predicted that home sales volumes would continue to improve. We said the same for pricing. We even expected prices in the sand & shore states to lead the rebound. That's been the case (even Las Vegas is rebounding).

One reason we thought 2012 would be a strong year for housing is shadow inventory would be less of an issue than many pundits were ominously projecting. Our rationale was simple: What's known doesn't roil markets; it's the unknown that roils markets. The problems associated with shadow inventory are well-known and well-vetted. Markets are masters at dealing with what's known.

Now, we said “fairly” accurate, not completely accurate. Our prediction on mortgage rates was wrong. We expected higher lending rates in December 2012 compared to December 2011. That wasn't the case. In our defense, we didn't expect the Federal Reserve to intervene in the mortgage market to the extent it has.

For 2013, we are doubling down: Existing-home and new-home sales will continue to improve, as will overall pricing. Home starts will also pick up pace throughout the year. As for shadow inventory, it will become even less of an issue than it is today.

We're also doubling down on mortgage rates. We see higher rates this time next year. We say that because the Federal Reserve's interventionist policies are becoming less effective. After the Fed announced it would double its purchases of longer-term notes and bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury actually increased 20 basis points. This suggests to us markets are becoming more concerned with inflation.

So that's our call for 2013. Have a safe and happy New Year.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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