According to recent reports, Wall Street firms have been easing recession calls, but interestingly, a mild downturn may actually benefit the housing market. One potential positive outcome of a recession is that it could lead to the Federal Reserve easing monetary policy, resulting in lower mortgage rates. This could make buying a home more affordable for many Americans who have been struggling with historically expensive prices.
Currently, mortgage rates are near 7%, which has led to a shortage of available homes as current owners are unwilling to give up their low rates. This has contributed to the high prices in the housing market. In fact, the median sale price for a typical starter home reached a record high of $243,000 in June. Goldman Sachs' Housing Affordability Index also hit a record low in August.
However, in a mild recession scenario, the Federal Reserve would likely respond with rate cuts, potentially leading to lower mortgage rates and more affordable homes. This could increase demand for homebuyers looking to take advantage of the lower rates. However, if the demand surges too quickly, it could keep prices elevated.
Additionally, in a recession, some Americans may face job losses, leading them to sell their homes or face foreclosures. This increase in supply could bring down list prices and minimize bidding wars. It's worth noting that homeowners today are more financially resilient than they were during the 2008 financial crisis, which could help prevent a dramatic crash in home values.
However, if a recession is avoided altogether, the housing market may continue to experience strong demand and tight inventory, making it unaffordable for many. The current supply and demand dynamics of the housing market are distorted, but there is potential for improvement. As mortgage rates decline and supply chains improve, both demand and supply could see positive changes.
Ultimately, the impact of a recession on the housing market is complex and depends on various factors. While a mild downturn could potentially alleviate some of the challenges faced by homebuyers, it is important to consider the potential consequences and the delicate balance between supply and demand.