It’s getting harder and harder to deny recession reality. Even as the Biden administration tries to spin itself out of that reality with a propaganda campaign, many in the mainstream seem to be waking up.
On Monday (July 25), Reuters reported that the tanking housing market is a red warning flag signaling a recession.
Air is hissing out of the housing bubble faster and faster every week.
Pending sales plunged in June and the inventory of homes on the market jumped as mortgage rates continue to rapidly rise.
As interest rates rise, the air continues to hiss out of the housing bubble.
Existing home sales tumbled to a two-year low in May. Sales fell to a seasonally adjusted 5.41 million units, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors. It was a 3.4% drop, bringing existing home sales to the lowest level since June 2020. May was the tenth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
When the Federal Reserve tinkers with interest rates, it creates all kinds of economic distortions. This is very obvious in the housing market. Over the last couple of years, the Fed blew up a giant housing bubble. Now, the central bank has pricked that bubble. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, host Mike Maharrey looks at the housing market as a microcosm of the broader economy.
The Fed has barely started raising interest rates but the air is already seeping out of the housing bubble.
New single-family home sales plunged by 16.6% from March and were down 26.9% year on year. New home sales dropped to the lowest level since the lockdown in April 2020.
The Federal Reserve has raised rates once – a mere 25 basis points (with another hike on the table today). So, it’s just getting started, but has it already popped the housing bubble? It sure looks that way. The question is how long will it take for the air to really start coming out.
As mortgage rates push up, mortgage applications continue to fall. As of last week, applications were down 17%, and at the lowest level since May 2020 when the economy was shut down for COVID, according to last week’s Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly Purchase Index. The index has dropped 30% from peak demand in late 2020 and early 2021.
The Federal Reserve launched its fight against inflation earlier this month, but it wasn’t exactly shock and awe. The Fed raised interest rates by just a quarter percent. Peter Schiff called it the most anticipated and least significant rate hike ever. Meanwhile, the central bank continued to expand its balance sheet.
While the Fed’s tiny monetary policy adjustments won’t likely put a dent in inflation, they are already having an impact on the economy. Last week, mortgage rates charted their biggest weekly increase in 11 years.
How long will it take for rising rates to pop the housing bubble?
We talk a lot about how the Fed keeps its big fat thumb on the Treasury market. But it also has its big fat thumb on the housing market. And if the Fed really does follow through with its taper and its plans to shrink its balance sheet, it will have a big effect on the housing market.
If you’ve ever held something under tension down with your thumb and suddenly release it, you know what happens.
The government CPI data for August came in slightly under expectations. Nevertheless, a 0.3% month-on-month increase in prices is significant. And a dig into the numbers reveals something wonky. The way the government calculates housing costs drastically understates rising prices and skews overall CPI to the downside.
The Federal Reserve insists inflation is “transitory” and the economy is making “progress.” Yet, it continues with the extraordinary monetary policy it launched at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, we’re seeing all kinds of data hinting that the economy may not be as great as advertised. Despite this, and even as prices continue to spiral higher, the Fed’s only monetary policy is talk.
Here’s the key question: what happens if the markets call the Fed’s bluff?