Just Released: The New York Fed’s New Regional Economy Website
Jaison R. Abel, Jason Bram, Richard Deitz, and Jonathan Hastings The New York Fed today unveiled a newly designed website on the regional economy that offers convenient access to a wide array of regional data, analysis, and research that the Bank makes available to the public. Focusing specifically on the Federal Reserve’s Second District, which […]
Did Tax Reform Raise the Cost of Owning a Home?
The 2018 slowdown in the housing market has been a subject of intense interest to the press and policymakers, including articles reporting a slowing in house price growth and a decline in home construction. Today we follow up on our colleagues’ research on whether the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) has contributed to a slowdown in the housing market, looking closely at what price signals tell us about the trade-off between owning and renting.
Is the Recent Tax Reform Playing a Role in the Decline of Home Sales?
From the fourth quarter of 2017 through the third quarter of 2018, the average contract interest rate on new thirty-year fixed rate mortgages rose by roughly 70 basis points—from 3.9 percent to 4.6 percent. During this same period, there was a broad-based slowing in housing market activity with sales of new single-family homes declining by 7.4 percent while sales of existing single-family homes fell by 4.4 percent. Interestingly though, these declines in home sales were larger than in the two previous episodes when mortgage interest rates rose by a comparable amount. This post considers whether provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) might have also contributed to the recent decline in housing market activity.
The Sustainability of First-Time Homeownership
In this post we take up the important question of the sustainability of homeownership for first-time buyers. The evaluation of public policies aimed at promoting the transition of individuals from renting to owning should depend not only on the degree to which such policies increase the number of first-time buyers, but also importantly on whether these new buyers are able to sustain their homeownership. If a buyer is unprepared to manage the financial responsibilities of owning a home and consequently must return to renting, then the household may have made little to no progress in wealth accumulation. Despite the importance of sustainability, to date there have been no efforts at measuring the sustainability of first-time homeownership. We provide an example of a first-time home buyer sustainability scorecard.
Who’s on First? Characteristics of First-Time Homebuyers
In our previous post, we presented a new measure of first-time homebuyers. In this post, we use this improved measure to describe the characteristics of first-time buyers and how those characteristics change over time. Having an accurate assessment of first-time buyers is important given that the aim of many housing policies is to support the transition from renting to owning. A proper assessment of these housing policies requires an understanding of the impact of these policies on the share of first-time buyers and the characteristics of these buyers. Our third post will directly examine the sustainability of homeownership by first-time buyers.
A Better Measure of First-Time Homebuyers
Much of the concern about affordable homeownership has focused on first-time buyers. These buyers, who are often making the transition from renting to owning, can find it difficult to save to meet down-payment requirements; this is particularly true in those areas where rent takes up a significant portion of a household’s monthly income. In contrast to first-time buyers, repeat buyers can typically rely on the equity in their current house to help fund the down payment on a trade-up purchase; they also have an easier time qualifying for a new mortgage if they’ve successfully made payments on a prior mortgage, thereby improving their credit score. Despite the policy focus on first-time buyers, reliable data on these buyers do not exist. In this initial post in a three-part series, we introduce a better measure of first-time buyers and examine the dynamics of this group over the past seventeen years. In our next post, we will describe the characteristics of first-time buyers. We will conclude the series by examining the sustainability of homeownership for first-time buyers.
Just Released: The New York Fed Staff Forecast—April 2019
David Lucca, Jonathan McCarthy, and Richard Peach Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is hosting the spring meeting of its Economic Advisory Panel (EAP). As has become the custom at this meeting, the New York Fed Research staff is presenting its forecast for U.S. growth, inflation, and the unemployment rate. Following the presentation, […]
Are New Repo Participants Gaining Ground?
Following the 2007-09 financial crisis, regulations were introduced that increased the cost of entering into repurchase agreements (repo) for bank holding companies (BHC). As a consequence, banks and securities dealers associated with BHCs, a set of firms which dominates the repo market, were predicted to pull back from the market. In this blog post, we examine whether this changed environment allowed new participants, particularly those not subject to the new regulations, to emerge. We find that although new participants have come on the scene and made gains, they remain a small part of the overall repo market.
The Keynesian Growth Approach to Macroeconomic Policy and Productivity
Productivity is one of the key determinants of potential output—that is, the trend level of production consistent with stable inflation. A productivity growth slowdown has occurred in several advanced economies in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, raising concerns about long-term growth. In response, a variety of supply-side policy options have been proposed, such as reforms to increase labor and product market flexibility. In this blog post, we consider the role of demand-side policies in raising trend productivity growth.