Falling Housing Prices Signal Inflation Retreat Won't Be Far Behind
After over a year of unprecedented rent growth and soaring inflation, housing costs have been in retreat for three months.
Inflation measures, thanks to a lagging dataset, have yet to follow suit. But that could soon change.
In October, shelter made up the vast majority of the core consumer price index inflation measure, or more than 10 times what all other nonfood and energy sectors contributed, The Wall Street Journal reports. Yet when shelter costs were excluded, inflation all but vanished in the core consumer price index for October, mirroring what private sector research from entities like Zillow have observed in the housing market over the same period.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics bases its rent and estimated homeowner equivalent measures on what is actually being paid, while private estimates incorporate asking rents and newly signed leases, the WSJ reports.
As BLS data catches up to easing housing prices, inflation measures could retreat to near the Federal Reserve's target rate of 2% in the next few months, Piper Sandler Senior Economist Jake Oubina told the WSJ.
Though wage growth and employment rates are also focuses of Fed policy, a retreat in inflation could give the financial regulator a signal that the aggressive interest rate hikes it pursued this year are no longer necessary.
If the Fed backs off on interest rates, it could in turn thaw the capital markets that have all but frozen for commercial real estate in the past few months.
Should inflation retreat along a friendly timeline and the Fed respond promptly, a significant recession may not happen, despite seeming like a near certainty to some in October.
Steep drops in value for several property sectors may represent the deflating of bubbles, as banks held to tighter underwriting and balance sheet standards implemented in the wake of the Great Financial Crisis, Bloomberg reports.