WASHINGTON (Inman News Features)- Housing and mortgage markets should remain strong despite the economic recession in the United States that was heightened by the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, according to Fannie Mae Chief Economist David Berson. Berson, speaking at Fannie Mae's Michigan Partnership Office in Ann Arbor, said housing and mortgage market activity helped bolster the economy as other sectors slipped into recession this year. As a result, the recession should be relatively short and mild because of the strength in housing and mortgage finance.

"Home price gains should be strong this decade, even if inflation is contained as strong underlying demographic demand for housing combines with supply constraints," Berson said. "For example, concerns about the environment and sprawl (will) move home price gains well above the overall rate of inflation. Increases of 5-6.5 percent per year nationwide are likely."

Joining Berson at the event were representatives of the housing, mortgage finance, health, nonprofit and governmental sectors in Michigan. Attendees included Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and Taylor Segue III, a member of Fannie Mae's Board of Directors.