In July, the Federal National Mortgage Association, better known by its pseudonym Fannie Mae, scaled back its formerly optimistic prediction for the United States gross national product (GDP) in 2012. In its official announcement, Fannie Mae cited the unstable employment market and the seemingly interrelated factor of relatively anemic consumer spending for its abrupt backpedaling away from its original prognostication of a 2.2 percent growth in the GDP. The revised estimate was scaled down to a modest 2 percent increase.

The economists employed by Fannie Mae to calculate and subsequently disseminate this kind of data describe their findings over the recent months as a good indication of a downward skewing or decelerating growth in the United States economy as a whole.

The news coming out of Fannie Mae was not all negative, however. The association's Chief Economist, Doug Duncan, provided a silver lining by pointing out that the housing market has managed to sustain its upwardly mobile direction, even in the nation's currently impossible-to-predict economy, referring to it as a bright spot that is providing a “rare upside boost.”

During the same time frame in 2011, the mortgage and finance company reported that home sales jumped up by 9 percent, with “single-family housing starts” showing a 20 percent increase. Once again, Fannie Mae was careful to place this data into its proper perspective by providing the caveat that levels remain consistently below what it considers a healthy norm.

Fannie Mae also offered mixed reviews concerning the overall state of residential investment, saying that this area will very likely show positive growth by the end of the year, even though it is starting from a comparatively low base. Additionally, it expects this market to deliver a positive contribution to the nation's economy, which it has not been able to do since 2005.

Consumers who took part in Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey in June provided an indication that their overall confidence in the housing market is improving for two reasons: low interest rates and the belief that home prices had likely dropped about as low as they are going.