Is It Time to Sound the Alarm on Housing?

Every morning on the way to work, I stop by Dunkin’ Donuts and get an iced coffee. I'm one of those psychopaths who needs an iced coffee when it's 35 degrees out.

Anyway, someone is putting up a giant housing development behind the Dunkin’ Donuts—hundreds of houses, maybe more. And let me tell you, the developer is going to have a tough time selling those houses. It’ll require lower prices to move them all.

As you probably know, the housing market has slowed down this year due to rising interest rates.

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic.

For one, there are no credit problems with mortgages. The typical FICO score of somebody applying for a mortgage is around 780, and underwriting standards are strong.

This is not 2008. Not at all. And it baffles me when I hear people compare today’s housing market to 2008’s. It's totally different.

What we’re dealing with is an interest rate phenomenon, not a credit phenomenon. That's an important distinction to keep in mind as you navigate all the doom out there.

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Inflation Will Trend Lower

Speaking of doom, people are losing their minds on Twitter.

You can find thread after thread on the housing market—how it's going to crash and why we’re hurling toward a depression.

That’s not the case. Prices will come down and interest rates will follow. I firmly believe that. Right now, 10-year interest rates are hovering above 4%, but I predict they will move from around 4% to 3% in the next couple of months.

Inflation is coming down hard, and once private measures of inflation are fed into the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), government data will reflect what we’re already seeing in private surveys: that inflation is shrinking.

Just look at commodity prices. Do you remember when we were having this moral panic about lumber because it was skyrocketing? Well, that’s over. The price of lumber has taken a nosedive, down around 55% year to date.

So, I’m confident that we won’t be talking about inflation a year from now. Really, all of this will seem like a bad dream.

Prices Will Adjust

The best analogy for today’s market is 1974 when stocks bottomed right around the time that inflation was peaking. Inflation came crashing down and stocks ripped higher.

You know, I get the bearish argument—I even agree with parts of it. We could have a long period of time where equity returns are low or zero. This happened in the past. We had a period from 1969 to 1982 where the market went nowhere. It could happen again.

Short term, though, stocks are going to surge. And when it comes to the housing market, we’re not condemned to a crash. Prices will adjust. Life goes on.

So, don't doom scroll your way through the internet. And don't listen to any of these pessimists on Twitter. They'll all turn out to be wrong. And then they'll hope you forgot that they were wrong.

It's not 2008 again. Wait and see. Interest rates will come down soon.

Jared Dillian
Jared Dillian

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