“According to Freddie Mac, the rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has climbed to 7.09 percent, an uptick from the 5.13 percent it was at a year prior.
A mortgage rate is “the interest rate charged for a home loan,” and effectively the monthly cost of borrowing that money. As mortgage rates have gone up, monthly payments have gotten more and more pricey for people looking to purchase a home even if the base price of the house stays the same.
For example, under a 3.22 percent 30-year fixed mortgage rate in January 2022, the monthly payment on a $400,000 house in New York with a 20 percent down payment was $1,716, per a Bankrate calculator. Now, under a 7.09 percent mortgage rate in August 2023, the monthly payment on the same house with the same price would be $2,477.
Such costs have had an impact on the housing market: As mortgage rates have increased, some potential buyers have held off on purchasing houses, while sellers have similarly been less likely to list their property. For current homeowners, there’s a major incentive to wait until rates go down before deciding to re-enter the market and search for their next house.
“These higher mortgage costs are a tremendous barrier to entry for anyone wanting to enter the housing market,” Gregory Daco, the chief economist for Ernst & Young, tells Vox.”
“One of the biggest factors in the rise in mortgage rates is the Fed’s approach to monetary policy, which includes interest rate hikes aimed at combating inflation.”
“The hike in bond yields and subsequent rise in mortgage rates caught some people off-guard since there was no comparable reaction after the Standard & Poor’s downgrade. But that took place in different economic times when the U.S. government had more room to maneuver.”
“”Inflation is the economic equivalent of a partial default. The debt was sold under a 2% inflation target, and people expected that or less inflation. The government borrowed and printed $5 Trillion with no plan to pay it back, devaluing the outstanding debt as a result,” he cautions. “Yes, this is not a formal default. And a formal default would have far reaching financial consequences that inflation does not have. Still, for a bondholder it’s the same thing.”
Having been burned by the U.S. government’s policies, investors perceive it as an increasingly risky borrower, just as Fitch (and S&P in 2011) say. As a result, they demand a greater price to loan the feds money—hence higher bond yields. And since 10-year Treasury yields serve as benchmarks for other borrowing rates, such as mortgages, that means higher cost for average Americans who have little say in D.C.’s financial shenanigans but have to suffer the consequences.”
“”Such high and rising debt would slow economic growth, push up interest payments to foreign holders of U.S. debt, and pose significant risks to the fiscal and economic outlook,” according to the CBO.
That means unpleasant consequences not just for government officials, but for those of us who live in the economy they hobble. The government will have to pay more to borrow, and so will we. We’ll do so in a country less prosperous than it should have been.”
“the changes are a significant step backward. Biden is effectively undoing a major change made by the Reagan administration—changes that were made, fittingly, to help combat inflation.
That change, made in 1982, repealed the “30 percent rule” that guided the process for determining what wages would be paid on which projects. Under the 30 percent rule, the prevailing wage for any particular area would be based on the highest wages paid to at least 30 percent of workers within the same area.
You don’t need an advanced degree in accounting to see how that mandate could artificially hike wages on federal projects. The government barred itself from even considering bids that might pay average wages, thereby obligating taxpayers to pay more than they might have had to in an open market.”
“wages aren’t as fluid as, say, gas prices, which seem to jump up or down in an instant. There are reasons for this. Gas prices are easily observed and easily changed, and people will happily switch stations to save a few cents per gallon. Labor markets aren’t like this at all. Switching jobs takes time and effort, and many workers are reluctant to give up the devil they know for the devil they don’t. Employers capitalize on this situation by adjusting wages slowly, if at all.”
“High inflation, combined with slow wage adjustment, drives purchasing power down. And this is true not just for the US. Canada’s post-Covid pay has followed the same trajectory as ours, and it is not alone.”
“To climb out of this hole, real wages will have to start growing again. The good news is that they already have. Annual real wage changes turned positive in February; month-on-month changes turned positive late last year. In this respect, we are doing well. Most European economies still haven’t seen real wage growth.
Furthermore, this hole is shallower than it may seem. Since late 2020, real wage reductions have cost households a little less than $1 trillion. That is a lot, without a doubt, but it is less than half of what households received in Covid-related transfers — stimulus payments, expanded unemployment insurance, child care credits, and the like — which amounted to $2 trillion. That puts them well ahead of where they were in March 2020, which is why people report that their own finances are doing just fine, even while they trash the state of the economy.”
“What we need to free ourselves from is the preconception that low unemployment alone makes a good labor market. Where we actually are is simple to understand. Dollar wages adjust slowly to price increases. Inflation has raised prices a lot, reducing purchasing power. As a result, the public is not happy about the economy.”
“An avian flu outbreak devastated the poultry industry throughout 2022. By the end of the year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), there were 43 million fewer egg-laying hens than in February 2022. Egg inventories fell 29 percent from January to December. When demand outstrips supply, prices go up.
A similar outbreak in late 2014 affected more than 50 million birds. According to Fed data, egg prices rose from $1.96 a dozen in May 2015 to $2.96 in September 2015 before falling for more than a year afterward.
The 2022 outbreak, by contrast, persisted into 2023. At the same time, general inflation was unusually high: 6.5 percent in 2022, compared to 0.7 percent in 2015. “Like consumers,” the American Feed Industry Association noted in January 2023, “feed manufacturers are feeling the effects of inflation on the economy and are paying increased rates for energy, shipping, labor and ingredients.” So even as the number of hens dropped, the cost of feeding them rose.
The good news is that egg prices began falling after January’s high. Average egg prices fell from $4.82 a dozen in January to $4.21 in February and $3.45 in March. The USDA predicted that, barring an avian flu resurgence, prices would continue to fall throughout the year.”
“Consumer prices rose faster in April, driven by another round of sharp increases in rental prices—and raising ongoing questions about whether a return to 2 percent annual inflation is possible.
Overall, prices rose by 0.4 percent in April, according to data released Wednesday morning by the Department of Labor, after ticking upward by just 0.1 percent in March. The annualized inflation rate fell to 4.9 percent, down slightly from March’s annualized rate of 5.0 percent.
Even though those numbers are a far cry from the 9.1 percent annual rate posted as recently as last June, it’s a worrying sign that inflation seems to have settled into a range that’s significantly higher than it had been for decades. The average inflation rate between 1990 and 2020, for example, was about 2.3 percent.”
“Public debt since 2020 has grown by $3 trillion. According to the latest Monthly Treasury Statement, government spending in March of 2023 alone was twice the revenue collected. The deficit in the first six months of FY 2023 is about 80 percent as large as the deficit for the entire FY 2022. Our mid-year deficit is $1.1 trillion, compared to $667 billion at the same point last year. Falling revenue collection is responsible for only 17 percent of this difference. The other 83 percent is overwhelmingly due to excessive and increased spending.
In simpler terms, the decline in the debt-to-GDP ratio cannot be attributed to spending cuts, even as we move away from what’s now widely regarded as an excessive fiscal response to the pandemic.”
“Government debt as a share of the U.S. economy is falling.”
“The main driver behind the reduction is inflation”
How Tariffs and the Trade War Hurt U.S. Agriculture Alex Durante. 2022 7 25. Tax Foundation. Tracking the Economic Impact of U.S. Tariffs and Retaliatory Actions Erica York. 2022 4 1. Tax Foundation. Lessons from the 2002 Bush Steel Tariffs Erica York.