Key Highlights

  • Wall Street sees surging economy in 2021 after rocky start
  • Wall Street banks coming in with global economic expansion from +5% to +6.45 after IMF contraction of -4.4% for 2020
  • NAR more measured with its 2021 GDP growth forecast coming in at +3.5%

Here’s a quick overview of where Wall Street banks and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) see the economy going in 2021. Spoiler: Wall Street is more optimistic than NAR.

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Economists are looking for a rocky start to 2021 as 2020 ends with record-high COVID infections and deaths and more restrictions/lockdowns in the US. This translates into Wall Street banks forecasting that the early days of 2021 will be rough until vaccines, vaccination rates and some sort of stimulus funds come into the economy.

Just remember that any improvements forecasted and/or realized would be dramatic improvements over the -4.4% contraction in the 2020 economy as projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

All the below forecasts are based upon purchasing power parity:

Bank of America Global Research – +5.4% by mid-year

Citigroup,Inc. – +5% – anticipates vaccine discovery to kick-in in 2022

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. – +6%

JPMorgan Chase & Co. – +5.8%

Morgan Stanley – +6.4% with global economy rising to pre-COVID level by q2 2021

The National Association of REALTORS® projects a more conservative and more housing market specific forecast. Take a look:


2020                       2021                       2022


GDP Growth    -2.7%              +3.5%                    +3.0%

Unemployment Rate   6.9%       6.2%                     5.0%

Home Price Change y/y  +15.5%     8.0%                5.5%

Housing Starts (millions)  1.53      1.50                    1.59

FT Remote Workers   21%             18%                   12%

NAR’s Consensus Top Markets in 2021 include:

Phoenix                     +10%

Austin                         +9%

Charlotte                    +8%

Atlanta                        +7%

Houston                       +7%

Denver                         +6%

Nashville                       +6%

Raleigh                         +4%

Dallas                          + 4%

Washington DC              +3%

Tampa                           +3%

Salt Lake City                +3%

Boise                             +3%


Thanks to Bloomberg and the National Association of REALTORS®.

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