Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies about monetary policy and the state of the economy before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Powell reiterated the Fed is gearing up to raise interest rates this month.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday the central bank is on track to start raising interest rates this month — likely by a quarter percentage point — in an effort to combat inflation, which is the highest it’s been in nearly 40 years.
But the Fed will proceed with caution, Powell told the House Financial Services Committee, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine adds more uncertainty to the economic outlook.
“The economics of these events are highly uncertain,” Powell said. “So far, we’ve seen energy prices move up further and those increases will move through the economy and push up headline inflation, and also they’re going to weigh on spending.”
The average price of gasoline in the U.S. approached $3.66 per gallon on Wednesday. Rising energy prices have been a significant driver of annual inflation, which hit 7.5% in January – the highest level since 1982.
Powell says it’s too soon to tell on Ukraine
Powell said it’s too soon to know how large or long-lasting price increases tied to events in Ukraine will be, so he and his colleagues on the central bank’s rate-setting committee are prepared to be flexible.
“We’re never on auto-pilot,” Powell said. “Those of us on the committee have an expectation that inflation will peak and begin to come down this year. And to the extent that inflation comes in higher or is more persistently high than that, then we would be prepared move more aggressively.”
Forecasters expect the Fed to impose additional interest rate hikes later this year in an effort to cool red-hot consumer demand, which has outstripped supply and driven prices sharply higher.
A year before his death, he launched the Poor People’s Campaign to fight job and housing inequality, among other issues. Historians say the Poor People’s Campaign and the Chicago Open Housing Movement laid the groundwork for the 1968 Fair Housing Act
Although Martin Luther King, Jr. is most remembered for his struggle to secure voting rights and stop segregation, the civil rights icon’s dream of racial equity reached far beyond integrated public life — it also included economic security and housing rights for the millions of minority and low-income Americans who’d been relegated to their cities’ under-resourced neighborhoods and housing projects.
King began planting the seeds of what would become the Poor People’s Campaign in Chicago, where thousands of Black Chicagoans struggled with job and housing insecurity — something they’d hoped they escaped during the Great Migration, the term used to describe a decades-long exodus from the fields of the South to the factories of the North.
Although some Black people found great success in Chicago, Detroit, New York City and other similar places, many more found the only thing that changed in their life was their address.
“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,” he added. “Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children.”
According to articles by HuffPost and NPR, Dr. King spent much of 1966 in Chicago, even moving his family to an apartment on the city’s predominately Black west side. There, King and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) launched the Chicago Open Housing Movement, whose goals included the rehab of public housing, increasing the supply of affordable housing, pushing for diversity and integration in businesses and unions, a $2 minimum wage and the abolition of wage garnishment.
Over the course of the year, King and SCLC activists held citywide rallies, planned demonstrations in front of real estate brokerages and marched into Chicago’s all-white neighborhoods, which were met with violent reactions from the city’s white residents. “Well, this is a terrible thing,” King said in a soundbite acquired by NPR. “I’ve been in many demonstrations all across the South, but I can say that I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hostile and as hate-filled as I’m seeing in Chicago.”
Eager to quell the violence, Chicago’s mayor, Richard J. Daley, agreed to meet with King and other activists in August 1966 to work out an agreement, which included building future public housing with “limited height requirements,” and requiring the Mortgage Bankers Association to make mortgages available regardless of race.
King hailed the agreement ‘‘the most signiﬁcant program ever conceived to make open housing a reality,’’ but tempered his assessment by recognizing it as only “the ﬁrst step in a 1,000-mile journey.’’
The next year, King went back to the South and began planning the Poor People’s Campaign, which was built from his experiences in Chicago the year before. He and the SCLC began creating a blueprint for economic and housing equity that addressed the systems and policies that kept minority and low-income communities behind the eight ball.
“This is a highly significant event,” King told the SCLC in November 1967, according to an archive at Stanford’s King Institute. “[This] the beginning of a new co-operation, understanding, and a determination by poor people of all colors and backgrounds to assert and win their right to a decent life and respect for their culture and dignity.”
He garnered support from civil rights leaders in American Indian, Puerto Rican, Mexican American, and poor white communities and began planning another March on Washington to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, and education for adults and children. “It’s as pure as a man needing an income to support his family,” King said.
King was assassinated before he could finish planning the demonstration; however, other SCLC leaders and his wife, Coretta Scott King, banned together and finished planning the march, which took place on Mothers’ Day 1968. After the initial demonstration, protestors pitched tents on the Mall in Washington and lobbied for fair employment and housing policies until their park permit expired a month later.
Even though the campaign was largely unsuccessful in making widespread change — they did secure free food surplus distribution to 200 counties — historians say the Poor People’s Campaign and the Chicago Open Housing Movement laid the groundwork for the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which ensures that all Americans have access to equal housing opportunities and outlaws discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status.
“And we have to continue in the legacy of MLK and the civil rights movement and the legacy of abolition movements of before,” said Paige May, a Chicago resident who spoke to NPR after an event to celebrate MLK.
“We have a lot of work to do, but it’s also — it feels like a day that’s celebratory in a lot of ways, right? But in the sphere of struggle and resistance.”
An important metric in today’s residential real estate market is the number of homes available for sale. The shortage of available housing inventory is the major reason for the double-digit price appreciation we’ve seen in each of the last two years. It’s the reason many would-be purchasers are frustrated with the bidding wars over the homes that are available. However, signs of relief are finally appearing.
According to data from realtor.com, active listings have increased over the last four months. They define active listings as:
“The active listing count tracks the number of for sale properties on the market, excluding pending listings where a pending status is available. This is a snapshot measure of how many active listings can be expected on any given day of the specified month.”
What normally happens throughout the year?
Historically, housing inventory increases throughout the summer months, starts to tail off in the fall, and then drops significantly over the winter. The graph below shows this trend along with the month active listings peaked in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
What happened last year?
Last year, the trend was different. Historical seasonality wasn’t repeated in 2020 since many homeowners held off on putting their houses up for sale because of the pandemic (see graph below). In 2020, active listings peaked in April, and then fell off dramatically for the remainder of the year.
What’s happening this year?
Due to the decline of active listings in 2020, 2021 began with record-low housing inventory counts. However, we’ve been building inventory over the last several months as more listings come to the market (see graph below):There are three main reasons we may see listings continue to increase throughout this fall and into the winter.
Pent-up selling demand – Homeowners may be more comfortable putting their homes on the market as more and more Americans get vaccinated.
New construction is starting to take off – Though new construction is not included in the realtor.com numbers, as more new homes are built, there will be more options for current homeowners to consider when they sell. The lack of options has slowed many potential sellers in the past.
The end of forbearance will create some new listings – Most experts believe the end of the forbearance program will not lead to a wave of foreclosures for several reasons. The main reason is the level of equity homeowners currently have in their homes. Many homeowners will be able to sell their homes instead of going to foreclosure, which will lead to some additional listings on the market.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, stick with it. There are new listings becoming available every day. If you’re thinking of selling your house, you may want to list your home before this additional competition comes to market.
Based on compiled data from more than six million property showings scheduled across the country, Home Buyer Demand jumps 98.4% in the West as traffic grows again nationwide.
March 24, 2021 – Dwindling inventory was again met with an outpouring of buyer demand throughout the country in February as an unprecedented 75 markets reported double-digit growth, according to the ShowingTime Showing Index®
Nationwide, buyer traffic jumped 49.5 percent, continuing a trend of national year-over-year growth in buyer demand that began in May 2020.
“In March and April, year-over-year comparisons will be less meaningful as the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 drove showing traffic down in those two months, but on a month-to-month basis we’re still likely to see further seasonal increases in demand, taking us further into this unprecedented direction. We expect that this will correlate with continued broad increases in prices.”
That’s roughly half of overall global savings during the pandemic, and the same as South Korea’s GDP.
It’s also greater than the output gap, or economic hole created by Covid-19, signaling a coming economic boom.
Experts are currently projecting 4.6% growth for US GDP this year, per Bloomberg. If Americans spend all the money they saved in the past year, that could jump to 9%; whereas if they don’t, the GDP forecast could drop to 2.2%.
No it’s not the pandemic; there we can only follow safety precautions and hope.
Rather it’s one of my clients’ timeline to Sell and Buy during 2020. How did they go from a home of 9 yrs, with three school-aged children and two full time working parents into a new build that will suit their family for the next 20+ years during an unimaginable world wide pandemic? One step at a time.
Then it was time to list their home of 9 years.
Despite being three months behind our original timeline, we referred back to the step by stepplan we had created. Without skipping a beat, my clients stuck to the plan and completed everything we had discussed to get the house ready for market. We listed on a Thursday, ratified 5 days later on that Monday and closed in 21 days on November 30, 2020.
One referral turned into two resulting in two happy clients. Now we are all connected.
It started with a reciprocal referral from a California agent whose son’s best friend wanted a bigger home for his expanding family. As a recent grad from the United States Naval Academy, becoming a parent to a son and adopted dog Lucky, with mom planning to go back to work and what looked like, job wise a longer stint in Maryland it was time to move, Covid-19 and all. We are currently operating in a highly competitive market with historically low interest rates. After 27+ house tours, interviewing 2 lenders, investing in a pre-home inspection, 3 written and submitted yet rejected offers, they closed on the house that was meant to be. 10,000 lower than list price, plus a seller credit. Well worth the effort. Congratulations! #BestClientsEver
Looking to the Future: What the Experts Are Saying
As our lives, our businesses, and the world we live in change day by day, we’re all left wondering how long this will last. How long will we feel the effects of the coronavirus? How deep will the impact go? The human toll may forever change families, but the economic impact will rebound with a cycle of downturn followed by economic expansion like we’ve seen play out in the U.S. economy many times over.
Here’s a look at what leading experts and current research indicate about the economic impact we’ll likely see as a result of the coronavirus. It starts with a forecast of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. As a broad measure of overall domestic production, it functions as a comprehensive scorecard of the country’s economic health.”
When looking at GDP (the measure of our country’s economic health), a survey of three leading financial institutions shows a projected sharp decline followed by a steep rebound in the second half of this year:A recent study from John Burns Consulting also notes that past pandemics have also created V-Shaped Economic Recoveries like the ones noted above, and they had minimal impact on housing prices. This certainly gives hope and optimism for what is to come as the crisis passes.
With this historical analysis in mind, many business owners are also optimistic for a bright economic return. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey shows this confidence, noting 66% of surveyed business owners feel their companies will return to normal business rhythms within a month of the pandemic passing, and 90% feel they should be back to normal operation 1 to 3 months after:From expert financial institutions to business leaders across the country, we can clearly see that the anticipation of a quick return to normal once the current crisis subsides is not too far away. In essence, this won’t last forever, and we will get back to growth-mode. We’ve got this.
Lives and businesses are being impacted by the coronavirus, but experts do see a light at the end of the tunnel. As the economy slows down due to the health crisis, we can take guidance and advice from experts that this too will pass.