We talk about inflection points, moments in time when significant changes can fundamentally alter established personal, political or economic norms. We may be approaching just such a point in the housing market, where the seemingly inexorable upward trend in home prices may be reversed, where the ‘balance of power’ may be shifting from sellers to byers, and where a significant “correction’ may already be under way.
The nation’s red hot labor market cooled a bit in August, indicating that the Federal Reserve’s inflation-fighting efforts may be having the desired effect. But Fed officials aren’t declaring victory yet.
Imagine a high-wire act performed without a net. That describes the Federal Reserve’s effort to curb inflation without crashing the economy. Success will bring applause and relief; failure, a brief downturn, at best, with a prolonged recession the worst case outcome.
The housing slowdown some analysts have been predicting for more than a year has arrived – perhaps. That’s not a unanimous view, but it does reflect what appears to be a growing consensus, supported by an array of negative indicators that are becoming harder to dismiss or to ignore.
In a move telegraphed clearly and undeterred by the Crimea turmoil, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates for the first time in four years, raising its benchmark rate by one-quarter- of percentage point, from zero to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, and indicating that additional rate hikes are coming.
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