Santa Barbara 180-acre estate, family compound Freddie Mac released its December U.S. Economic and Housing Outlook today, with projections for the nation's housing market in 2013. As property values continue to strengthen in 2013, Freddie Mac expects U.S. house price indexes to rise by 2-3%. For the first half of 2013, long-term mortgage rates should remain near their record lows, which is good news to buyers struggling with low inventory and multiple offer situations. These buyers should still have some time to take advantage of low interest rates, as Freddie Mac expects long-term fixed-rate mortgage rates to remain below 4% next year. Finally, it projects mortgage refinancing to continue to grow in early 2013, but will eventually drop down from 2012 highs.