Financial Conditions Have Already Tightened

Part of the Fed’s mandate is to maintain price stability (inflation). The Fed helps lower inflation by raising the Fed Funds Rate, which tightens monetary conditions and slows economic demand. If demand slows, prices come down.

Even though the next Fed Meeting is still one month away, and the Fed has not hiked rates since 2018, financial conditions have already tightened. The hawkish rhetoric and threats of multiple rate hikes have pushed up rates over the past 2 months to the highest levels in years. This has already had an impact on housing.

Now we are seeing an impact on new home sales. When you combine the lumber inflation, additional supply chain-related costs, and the recent uptick in rates, the National Association of Homebuilders reports that nearly 7 out of 10 borrowers can’t afford a new median-priced home. This is an unsustainable trend. Either rates must come down a little to provide relief or home prices must come down or a combination of both.

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