My Thoughts For Today - Millennials meet Jerome Powell

December 31, 2023

It has been almost two years since the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) began raising interest rates. The goal? To ease inflation and temper the consumer. The reality? Frustrated millennials were priced out of home buying, housing inventory was tight, and inflation was still hitting the consumer where it hurt most, their pockets. But I am not here today to tell you about where we were, but rather where we are going and how it will effect millennials and their future.

Just last week, FOMC Chairman Jerome Powell finally hinted at rate decreases in 2024. The market responded favorably to this sentiment closing higher on December 13th, sparking an extended strong rally in the stock and bond markets.

While it could still take a couple years to level out, this is good news for millennials who have put off purchasing a home or anyone for that matter that has been yearning to trade in their current home for something bigger. Happy holidays! Powell delivered a financial gift that has been on everyone’s list for two years. 

Something important I want to point out is the 10-year U.S. Treasury Note rate. The rate peaked in October at about 4.99% and is now down to 3.89%, indicating a less hawkish outlook by the FOMC. This drop in rates is a leading indicator that the market is anticipating a decline in rates. This is significant in that we will soon begin to see a resurgence in housing supply and demand.

Recently, housing inventory for sale has been tight. However, that is now softening up as we begin to see a decline in interest rates. People who are searching for larger homes, will soon no longer be afraid to trade in their 2% mortgage rate for a slightly higher rate. While we may never see those 2% mortgage rates again, once we begin to see the fed drop rates, such that mortgages fall below the 6% level, the housing market will begin to open more. Buckle up millennials, it may soon be time to begin your housing search again.

However, this good news does not only apply to the housing market. Let us not forget about that new car we want (or need) and have been putting off for a few years to avoid that high interest rate loan. The lowering of interest rates for shorter-term loans will come sooner than longer-term lower mortgage rates.

To sum up Powell’s holiday gift to millennials, Mortgage rates will eventually normalize and with a little bit more patience you will soon be able to get mortgage rates between 4-5%. Historically, this has been the sweet spot. Housing inventory will increase, giving you more options to choose from. So fellow millennials, it is time to save and invest more aggressively as you plan for that down payment. And if you’re in the market for a new car, start putting out some feelers for the type of car you want, you’ll be cruising down the freeway in no time.

Two stocks which could benefit from a growth in the housing market are Home Depot (HD) and RH (RH), formerly known as Restoration Hardware. 

Happy New Year to all, and to all a good rate.