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February
2

Five to Seven Interest Rate Hikes in 2022

In recent days, investment bank after investment bank has published revised forecasts, and they all predict the same thing: That the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at a quicker pace this year than anybody would have anticipated just a week ago.  The latest is from Goldman Sachs, which now sees five rate hikes this year, joining Deutsche Bank at that number. Bank of America thinks the central bank will be even more aggressive. It predicts seven 25-basis-point hikes this year, one for each of the remaining FOMC meetings. That would bring the federal funds rate to 1.75%-2% by year-end, essentially hiking up borrowing costs for Americans after years of rock-bottom lending rates.   At last week's meeting, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell gave a clear signal that the central bank will move to raise interest rates as often as needed to tame run-away inflation. "The striking thing about Chair Powell's press conference this week was that he in effect made a compelling case that the Fed should have already hiked rates in the second half of last year," said Ethan Harris, global economist at Bank of America, in noting tell-tale signs of a slowing economy, a turbulent labor market and rising prices. "The only thing missing from the narrative was: 'and so, we are behind the curve and are hiking today.'"

  • Fox Business, January 31, 2022
February
2

Dallas-Fort Worth crowned one of world's top 10 wealthiest places

Believe it or not, the whole Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is home to more mini-millionaires than the entire population of Plano. In fact, DFW now ranks among the world's top 10 metros for the number of high-net-worth individuals.  A new ranking from Wealth-X, which collects and analyzes data about the world's wealthiest people, puts DFW at No. 10 globally for the population of high-net-worth (HNW) individuals, defined as those with a net worth of $1 million to $30 million. (In other words, Alice Walton, Jerry Jones, and Andy Beal are way too rich for this list.)

For 2018, Wealth-X tallied 298,220 HNW individuals in Dallas-Fort Worth, up slightly from 297,935 the previous year. By comparison, the population of Plano was 286,143 in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. DFW is the only Texas metro to appear in Wealth-X's top 10.  "With the addition of [the] Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, the U.S. now includes six of the top 10 cities in our ranking," Wealth-X says.  Sitting atop the ranking is the New York City metro area, home to nearly 1 million HNW individuals. Elsewhere in the U.S., Los Angeles stands at No. 3, Chicago at No. 6, San Francisco at No. 9, Washington, D.C., at No. 9, and Dallas-Fort Worth at No. 10.

Chances are, you'll find many of DFW's HNW individuals in the region's richest ZIP codes, particularly Highland Park and University Park. Highland Park is No. 9 among the country's wealthiest ZIP codes, and University Park is No. 7, according to a 2018 analysis by Bloomberg.  According to data released in 2018 by Charles Schwab's Modern Wealth Index, DFW residents say it takes a net worth of $2.4 million to be considered wealthy and $1.3 million to feel financially comfortable.  According to the 2018 Knight Frank City Wealth Index, Dallas ranks seventh globally for the most households (297,970) earning at least $250,000 in 2017, just behind Houston at No. 6 (298,868 households).

Dallas is projected to rank 10th for the growth of households earning at least $250,000, adding 58,575 such households from 2017 to 2022, the index says. By comparison, Houston is forecast to hold down the No. 9 position, adding 71,211 of those households during the same five-year span.

  • Culture Map Dallas, January 24, 2021
October
28

Small Business Optimism Soars to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Optimism among small-business owners climbed higher in September to pre-pandemic levels.  The National Federal of Independent Business said Tuesday its optimism index rose 3.8 points to 204, a level it last reached in January. That is among the highest readings recorded in the closely watched gauge of business confidence.  Economists had expected the index to more or less hold steady near last month's reading of 100.2. The range of estimates was between 99 and 102, so this was twice as strong as the most bullish forecast.  The improvement comes as many businesses have been able to open more fully. It suggests that the end of small-business relief programs, which mostly wrapped up in August, did not hurt business owners as much as feared.

The threat of a second round of shutdowns, however, still hangs over businesses. The NFIB's uncertainty index climbed to 92, higher than it was when infections were at their height this summer or lockdowns were at their most stringent this spring.  "As parts of the country continue to open, small businesses are seeing some improvements in foot traffic and sales," said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. "However, some small businesses are still struggling financially to operate at full capacity while navigating state and local regulations and are uncertain about what will happen in the future."

Every component of the index apart from expected credit conditions improved. With interest rates already extremely low, there is not much room for credit conditions to improve. Plans to increase employment, make capital outlays, and grow inventories all rose. So did the share of business owners expecting economic conditions to get better over the next three months. Expectations for sales also improved and more owners said now is a good time to expand.

The NFIB is a trade association for small business owners.

  • Breitbart, October 15, 2020
October
26

Positive Forecast: Dallas Housing Boom Continues in 2021

Current surge in home buying and price hikes continues......

North Texas home sales and prices have surged to record levels in the last three months – one bright spot during the pandemic.  The boom in Dallas-Ft Worth's housing market is likely to continue through 2021 as the effects of COVID-19 slowly subside, says Dr James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.  "Dallas is still a robust market.  Dallas is going to continue to do well – probably 2021 is looking similar to this year."

 

North Texas homes sales during the first nine months of 2020 are running 6% ahead of last year's record.  And median sales prices in September were up 10% to near an all-time high of more than $290.000.  "Employment is still high," Gaines said.  "Population growth is still coming here.  The demand for housing is still being created."

  • Dallas Morning News, October 23, 2020
July
28

Two Reasons We Won't See a Rush of Foreclosures This Fall

Two Reasons We Won't See a Rush of Foreclosures This Fall | MyKCM

The health crisis we face as a country has led businesses all over the nation to reduce or discontinue their services altogether. This pause in the economy has greatly impacted the workforce and as a result, many people have been laid off or furloughed. Naturally, that would lead many to believe we might see a rush of foreclosures like we saw in 2008. The market today, however, is very different from 2008.

The concern of more foreclosures based on those that are out of work is one that we need to understand fully. There are two reasons we won't see a rush of foreclosures this fall: forbearance extension options and strong homeowner equity.

1. Forbearance Extension

Forbearance, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is "when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to temporarily pay your mortgage at a lower payment or pause paying your mortgage." This is an option for those who need immediate relief. In today's economy, the CFPB has given homeowners a way to extend their forbearance, which will greatly assist those families who need it at this critical time.

Under the CARES Act, the CFPB notes:

 "If you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request and obtain a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request and obtain an extension for up to another 180 days (for a total of up to 360 days)." 

2. Strong Homeowner Equity

Equity is also working in favor of today's homeowners. This savings is another reason why we won't see substantial foreclosures in the near future. Today's homeowners who are in forbearance actually have more equity in their homes than what the market experienced in 2008.

The Mortgage Monitor report from Black Knight indicates that of all active forbearances which are past due on their mortgage payment, 77% have at least 20% equity in their homes (See graph below):Two Reasons We Won't See a Rush of Foreclosures This Fall | MyKCMBlack Knight notes:

"The high level of equity provides options for homeowners, policymakers, mortgage investors and servicers in helping to avoid downstream foreclosure activity and default-related losses."

Bottom Line

Many think we may see a rush of foreclosures this fall, but the facts just don't add up in this case. Today's real estate market is very different from 2008 when we saw many homeowners walk away when they owed more than their homes were worth. This time, equity is stronger and plans are in place to help those affected weather the storm.

July
25

Texas Unemployment Fell to 8.6% - Faster Improvement than USA

Texas' June unemployment rate fell to 8.6% — a drop from the 13% May jobless rate, according to a Friday morning U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.  While it's an improvement from April's record-high 13.5% unemployment rate, June's figure shows the devastating financial toll on Texans as the coronavirus pandemic upends the economy. Before the pandemic began, the unemployment rate in February was 3.5%. Almost 3 million Texans have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March.

The DFW area has lost 227,000 jobs due to the pandemic, but as bad as that sounds it is so much better than the rest of the nation.  And, in addition, the DFW area gained 9,000 financial jobs in May – the only notable green shoots among the 12 largest metros in the nation.  Finance and insurance are economic strengths for Dallas-Fort Worth, and they're helping the local labor market hold up much better than most metros during the pandemic.

  • Dallas Morning News, Jul 7, 2020
July
2

What Are Experts Saying About the Rest of 2020?

What Are Experts Saying About the Rest of 2020? | MyKCM

One of the biggest questions on everyone's minds these days is: What's going to happen to the housing market in the second half of the year? Based on recent data on the economy, unemployment, real estate, and more, many economists are revising their forecasts for the remainder of 2020 – and the outlook is extremely encouraging. Here's a look at what some experts have to say about key areas that will power the industry and the economy forward this year.

Mortgage Purchase Originations: Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry ForecastingMortgage Bankers Association

"The recovery in housing is happening faster than expected. We anticipated a drop off in Q3. But, we don't think that's the case anymore. We revised our Q3 numbers higher. Before, we predicted a 2 percent decline in purchase originations in 2020, now we think there will be 2 percent growth this year."

Home Sales: Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors

"Sales completed in May reflect contract signings in March and April – during the strictest times of the pandemic lock down and hence the cyclical low point…Home sales will surely rise in the upcoming months with the economy reopening, and could even surpass one-year-ago figures in the second half of the year."

Inventory: George Ratiu, Senior Economist, realtor.com

"We can project that the next few months will see a slow-yet-steady improvement in new inventory…we projected a stepped improvement for the May through August months, followed by a return to historical trend for the September through December time frame."

Mortgage Rates: Freddie Mac

"Going forward, we forecast the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.4% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021."

New Construction: Doug Duncan, Chief Economist, Fannie Mae

"The weaker-than-expected single-family starts number may be a matter of timing, as single-family permits jumped by a stronger 11.9 percent. In addition, the number of authorized single-family units not yet started rose 5.4 percent to the second-highest level since 2008. This suggests that a significant acceleration in new construction will likely occur."

Bottom Line

The experts are optimistic about the second half of the year. If you paused your 2020 real estate plans this spring, connect with a RE/MAX DFW Associates agent today to determine how you can re-engage in the process.

 

-Keeping Current Matters - July 2020

June
26

New Index Reveals Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate

New Index Reveals Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate | MyKCM

Earlier this month, realtor.com announced the release of their initial Housing Recovery Index, a weekly guide showing how the pandemic has impacted the residential real estate market. The index leverages a weighted average of four key components of the housing industry, tracking each of the following:

  1. Housing Demand – Growth in online search activity
  2. Home Price – Growth in asking prices
  3. Housing Supply – Growth of new listings
  4. Pace of Sales – Difference in time-on-market

The index then compares the current status "to the last week of January 2020 market trend, as a baseline for pre-COVID market growth. The overall index is set to 100 in this baseline period. The higher a market's index value, the higher its recovery and vice versa."

The graph below charts the index by showing how the real estate market started out strong in early 2020, and then dropped dramatically at the beginning of March when the pandemic paused the economy. It also shows the strength of the recovery since the beginning of May.

New Index Reveals Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate | MyKCM

It's clear to see that the housing market is showing promising signs of recovery from the deep economic cuts we experienced earlier this spring. As noted by Dean Mon, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

"As the nation reopens, housing is well-positioned to lead the economy forward."

The data today indicates the housing market is already on the way up.

 

-Keeping Current Matters - June 26, 2020

June
20

Is the Economic Recovery Already Underway?

Is the Economic Recovery Already Underway? | MyKCM

The Wall Street Journal just released their latest monthly Survey of Economists. In an article on the findings, they reported:

"The U.S. economy will be in recovery by the third quarter of this year, economists said in a survey that also concluded the labor market will fare better than previously expected following the effects of the coronavirus pandemic."

Clearly, the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed the labor market is outperforming expectations, as it revealed that 2.5 million jobs were added. Directly before the release, experts forecasted that we would lose over 8 million jobs.

A second revelation indicating the economy is already about to turn around was also somewhat unexpected. More than 9 out of 10 economists surveyed believe the recovery has already begun this quarter or will begin in the third quarter. Here are the results of the survey question asking when the recovery will begin:Is the Economic Recovery Already Underway? | MyKCMThe survey also asked what type of recovery the economists expect.

More than 8 out of 10 believe it will be a form of a 'V' recovery:

  • A true 'V' with a sharp drop and a sharp rebound
  • A 'Nike Swoosh' with a sharp drop and a more gradual recovery, coined after the company's logo

Some experts, possibly concerned about a second wave of COVID-19, call for a 'W' recovery – a double dip recession.

Others call for a 'U' with a prolonged bottom.

A very small percentage project the dreaded 'L' recovery, which is no recovery at all for the foreseeable future (think of the Great Recession).

Here's the breakdown:Is the Economic Recovery Already Underway? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Though we still have a long and difficult journey ahead, it appears the worst for both the economy and the unemployment situation may be in our rearview mirror.

May
22

Housing Positioned to Bring Back the Economy

All eyes are on the American economy. As it goes, so does the world economy. With states beginning to reopen, the question becomes: which sectors of the economy will drive its recovery? There seems to be a growing consensus that the housing market is positioned to be that driving force, the tailwind that is necessary. Some may question that assertion as they look back on the last recession in 2008 when housing was the anchor to the economy – holding it back from sailing forward. But even then, the overall economy did not begin to recover until the real estate market started to regain its strength. This time, the housing market was in great shape when the virus hit. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First American, recently explained:

 

Many still bear scars from the Great Recession and may expect the housing market to follow a similar trajectory in response to the coronavirus outbreak. But, there are distinct differences that indicate the housing market may follow a much different path. While housing led the recession in 2008-2009, this time it may be poised to bring us out of it.

 

Fleming is not the only economist who believes this. Last week, Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, (@DrFrankNothaft) tweeted:

 

For the first 6 decades after WWII, the housing sector led the rest of the economy out of each recession. Expect it to do so this time as well.

 

And, Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders, in an economic update last week explained:

 

As the economy begins a recovery later in 2020, we expect housing to play a leading role. Housing enters this recession underbuilt, not overbuilt…Based on demographics and current vacancy rates, the U.S. may have a housing deficit of up to one million units.

Bottom Line

Every time a home is sold it has a tremendous financial impact on local economies. As the real estate market continues its recovery, it will act as a strong tailwind to the overall national economy.

 

  • Keeping Current Matters, May 19, 2020

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