We've returned to our loom with a view, after a brief far-flung reprieve. The important take-away of this past week-plus is gratitude. Yesterday, of course, was a celebration, honoring, and remembrance of men and women and their families who serve and have sacrificed in the nation's armed services. If they don't do what they do or hadn't done what they did, a housing economy would be irrelevant.
It's their work, in all its modes and methods, that amounts to protection of safety and freedom for the people in every walk of American life.
Too, it would be impossible to actually take time off were it not for efforts of a team--just a few too many to meaningfully name--who stepped up, did more, made the trains keep on running, and put out the fires during this past week's absence. This team overachieves on any given day, but when imbalances happen to show up--either planned or not--they band together and take such events as an opportunity, which is all any one who works with them could hope.
So, we're looking, as Spring pitches into early Summer, at optimism's double-edge sword. Here, we see the media focusing on house prices and Residential Investment components of a better-than-expected GDP as signs of an incipient housing boom.
And here, is a look at Consumer Sentiment trends spiking to a year-long high-water mark as the University of Michigan tracks it.
Could it be that all these months of good jobs growth, and tightening jobs markets have started to impact real household incomes, which would be the most solid measure for decision-makers in those households to model their ability to move into homeownership?
Here the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Macroblog, posted by economic policy specialist Ellyn Terry, looks at wage growth, particularly among lower and middle-wage earners. The middle-wage workers may perhaps be where the housing market begins to "take on a life of its own," especially as credit box options begin to expand.
Here's Terry's kicker analysis:
Are middle-wage earners experiencing good wage growth? In a relative sense, yes. The 12-month WGT for high-wage earners was 3.1 percent in April compared with 3.2 percent and 3.0 percent for middle- and low-wage workers, respectively. So the typical wage growth of those in middle-wage jobs is trending slightly higher than for high-wage earners, a deviation from the historical picture.
The double-edged sword part comes with this, an imminent increase in interest rates promised as the Federal Reserve looks to make money more expensive to borrow. As the consumer economy, fueled by wage growth, increased confidence, willingness to spend, and a still-tight supply of for-sale home inventory.
Interest rates continue to be the source of the most tossing and turning among home builders. The math of monthly payments gets daunting, dramatically so, when mortgage interest rates float upward. In the end though, if wage earners look ahead at their income trajectories and are comfortable with the outlook, interest rate increases tend not to dampen momentum of a recovery that "takes on a life of its own."
We're looking forward to being here with you during this fascinating Summer ahead for some of the external forces that play an important role in the housing market.