Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group releases a monthly outlook forecasting upcoming economic and housing market growth. In their most recent release, the group says the U.S. economy has been strengthening through the second half of the year and is poised to continue its gains in 2015. This, along with several buyer-friendly trends in residential real estate, has the group predicting next year will be the best year for total home sales since 2007 – before the financial crisis and recession. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, said they are cautiously optimistic that ongoing job market improvements, low mortgage rates, rising for-sale inventory, and some easing of lending standards should boost home sales by roughly 5 percent next year. Still, Duncan warns that it will not be the breakout year some analysts are expecting. Instead, he expects the housing market to continue along its steady, upward grind. Fannie Mae is forecasting overall home sales to end this year weaker than 2013, mostly due to 2014′s slow start. More here.