Showing posts with label BRIC economies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BRIC economies. Show all posts

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Bad Moon A-Rising: America faces a looming real estate crisis

I see the bad moon a-risin'
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin'
I see bad times today

Americans live in a Panglossian environment, encouraged by our government to believe we live in the best of all possible worlds. Inflation? It's going down. The job market? Our economy is creating an astonishing number of new jobs. Our President? A paragon of wisdom.

Of course, we don't live in the best of all possible worlds. America is neck-deep in two terrible wars: Ukraine and Gaza, and those wars will eventually bite us on the national butt. Right now, these global disasters still seem far away. No reason to put off buying a new Land Rover.

Domestically, however, an economic calamity is looming, and it will soon come crashing down on us. I'm talking about the collapse of the domestic real estate market.

Driven by catastrophic weather events (hurricanes, wildfires, windstorms, and floods), the cost of homeowner's insurance has risen significantly, increasing the cost of owning a home.

Lenders require people with home mortgages to have adequate property insurance, typically added to the home borrower's monthly mortgage payment. Since most homeowners buy houses based on what they can afford in monthly payments, rising insurance costs will force many Americans to buy less expensive homes.

Interest rates on home mortgages are going up, too. The Biden administration and the Fed are doing their best to keep interest rates down until after the presidential election, but the days of 3 percent mortgages are over.

On the global stage, the BRIC countries are slowly undermining the American dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, and that process is well underway. Our government now spends a trillion dollars every 100 days in interest payments on the national debt, and that debt grows larger each month. Our growing debt has started to put pressure on interest rates, including the interest rate on home mortgages. 

All these trends are gathering into a perfect storm for homeownership. Who resides on the dirty side of this storm? 

Not the banks. When the real estate market collapses the next time, the feds will bail out the banks as they've done in the past, assuming the value of the U.S. dollar holds up through the crisis. 

No, the losers will be American middle-class homeowners. And when the next real estate crisis is over, the American middle class will be much smaller. 

You'll be goddamn lucky if you're still in it. In the meantime, I recommend listening to more Creedence.

Who stole the Dude's Creedence tapes?