By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems.
As a global real estate marketing brokerage, we here at Global Property Systems keep an eye on international news and world concerns. Because many of our clients are from abroad, their worries are our worries. Few people realize that troubles such as unrest in the Middle East or the spread of the corona virus in Asia actually have an effect on markets and real estate investments in the United States.
Surprisingly, in the midst of all this seeming chaos and bad news, one sector that improves with bad news is real estate.
Mark Fleming, the chief economist for First American Financial Corporation said in a recent report:
“Global events and uncertainty…impact the U.S. economy, and more specifically, the U.S. housing market…U.S. bonds, backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, are widely considered the safest investments in the world. When global investors sense increased uncertainty, there is a ‘flight to safety’ in U.S. Treasury bonds, which causes their price to go up, and their yield to go down.”
Last week, in a HousingWire article, Kathleen Howley reaffirmed Fleming’s point.:
“When investors get anxious, they tend to sell off stocks and seek the safe haven of U.S. bonds. An increase in competition for bonds means investors, including the people who buy mortgage-backed bonds, have to take lower yields. That translates into lower mortgage rates.”
The yield from treasury bonds is the rate investors receive when they purchase the bond. Historically, when the treasury rate moves up or down, the 30-year mortgage rate follows. Here’s a powerful graph showing the relationship between the two over the last 48 years:
How might concerns about global challenges impact the housing market in 2020? Fleming explains:
“Even a small change in the 10-year Treasury due to increased uncertainty, let’s say a slight drop to 1.6 percent, would imply a 30-year, fixed mortgage rate as low as 3.3 percent. Assuming no change in household income, that would mean a house-buying power gain of $21,000, a five percent increase.”
Global Property Systems says:
For a multitude of reasons, 2020 could be a challenging year. It seems, however, real estate will do just fine. With lower interest rates, the house-buying power of U.S. consumers can benefit significantly.”
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