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7 posts on "Jason Somerville"
May 6, 2024

Mortgage Rate Lock‑In and Homeowners’ Moving Plans

Photo: man unloading boxes from a moving truck

The U.S. housing market has had a tumultuous few years. After falling to record lows during the pandemic, the average 30-year mortgage rate rapidly increased in 2022 and 2023 and now hovers near a two-decade high of 7.2 percent. For those that locked in a low mortgage rate prior to 2022, this steep increase has significantly increased the cost of moving, as taking out a mortgage at current rates would potentially increase their monthly housing payment by hundreds or thousands of dollars, even if the amount they borrowed remained unchanged. As shown by Ferreira et al. (2011), this lock-in effect has the potential to reduce geographic mobility and turnover in the housing market and has gained the attention of Federal Reserve leaders. In this post, we utilize special questions from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s 2023 and 2024 SCE Housing Surveys to estimate the extent to which mortgage rate lock-in is suppressing U.S. household’s moving plans.

Posted at 11:00 am in Household Finance, Housing | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 17, 2023

Consumers’ Perspectives on the Recent Movements in Inflation

Editors Note: The title of this post has been changed from the original. August 17, 2023, 10:35 a.m.

Decorative image: Woman loading groceries into trunk of car

Inflation in the U.S. has experienced unusually large movements in the last few years, starting with a steep rise between the spring of 2021 and June 2022, followed by a relatively rapid decline over the past twelve months. This marks a stark departure from an extended period of low and stable inflation. Economists and policymakers have expressed differing views about which factors contributed to these large movements (as reported in the media here, here, here, and here), leading to fierce debates in policy circles, academic journals, and the press. We know little, however, about the consumer’s perspective on what caused these sudden movements in inflation. In this post, we explore this question using a special module of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) in which consumers were asked what they think contributed to the recent movements in inflation. We find that consumers think supply-side issues were the most important factor behind the 2021-22 inflation surge, while they regard Federal Reserve policies as the most important factor behind the recent and expected future decline in inflation.

June 22, 2023

Elevated Rent Expectations Continue to Pressure Low‑Income Households

illustration of person sitting on their suitcases outside of a house with a lock on the front door with the question: who feels most vulnerable.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s 2023 SCE Housing Survey, released in April, reported some novel data about expectations for home prices, interest rates, and mortgage refinancing. While the data showed a sharp drop in home price expectations, some of the most notable findings concern renters. In this post, we take a deeper dive into how renters’ expectations and financial situations have evolved over the past year. We find that both owners and renters expect rents to rise rapidly over the next year, albeit at a slower pace than last year. Furthermore, we also show that eviction expectations rose sharply over the past twelve months, and that this increase was most pronounced for those in the lowest quartile of the income distribution.

Posted at 2:00 pm in Equitable Growth, Housing, Inflation | Permalink
October 11, 2022

New SCE Charts Include a Measure of Longer‑Term Inflation Expectations

Today, the New York Fed introduces several new data series and interactive charts depicting findings from its Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). The SCE is a representative, internet-based monthly survey of a rotating panel of about 1,300 household heads in the United States. Since January 2014, we have been reporting findings from our monthly survey on U.S. households’ views on inflation, household income and spending growth, their expectations about the housing and labor market, and a range of other expectations about the economy and outcomes for their own household. In addition to publishing interactive charts showing national trends as well as trends by demographic groups (such as age, income, education, numeracy, and geography), we also post the underlying microdata online (with a nine-month lag) to make it available for research purposes.  We are adding three new data series to our interactive charts today. The first two concern expectations about future inflation, and the third concerns expectations of future home price growth.

Posted at 11:00 am in Expectations, Housing, Inflation | Permalink | Comments (1)
October 4, 2022

Eviction Expectations in the Post‑Pandemic Housing Market

Housing is the single largest element of the typical household’s budget, and data from the SCE Household Spending Survey show that this is especially true for renters. As the housing market heated up in the latter stages of the pandemic, home prices and rents both began to rise sharply. For renters, some protection from these increases was afforded by national, state, and in some cases local eviction moratoria, which greatly reduced the risk of households losing access to stable housing if they couldn’t afford their rent. Yet many of these protections have expired and additional supports will do so soon. In this post, we draw on data from our SCE Housing Survey to explore how renters perceive their housing risk and find that the answers depend to a large degree on their current and past experiences of the housing market.

May 26, 2022

What Do Consumers Think Will Happen to Inflation?

This post provides an update on two earlier blog posts (here and here) in which we discuss how consumers’ views about future inflation have evolved in a continually changing economic environment. Using data from the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE), we show that while short-term inflation expectations have continued to trend upward, medium-term inflation expectations appear to have reached a plateau over the past few months, and longer-term inflation expectations have remained remarkably stable. Not surprisingly given recent movements in consumer prices, we find that most respondents agree that inflation will remain high over the next year. In contrast, and somewhat surprisingly, there is a divergence in consumers’ medium-term inflation expectations, in the sense that we observe a simultaneous increase in both the share of respondents who expect high inflation and the share of respondents who expect low inflation (and even deflation) three years from now. Finally, we show that individual consumers have become more uncertain about what inflation will be in the near future. However, in contrast to the pre-pandemic period, they tend to express less uncertainty about inflation further in the future.

Posted at 7:00 am in Inflation, Pandemic | Permalink
April 18, 2022

Expected Home Price Increases Accelerate over the Short Term but Remain Stable over the Medium Term

Photo: Still life of a keyring with keys, a small house and red price tag on turquoise colored background

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s 2022 SCE Housing Survey shows that expected changes in home prices in the year ahead increased relative to the corresponding timeframe in the February 2021 survey, while five-year expectations remained unchanged. Households reported that they would be less likely to buy if they were to move compared to the year-ago survey, marking the first annual decline since the series began in 2014. This drop was driven by current renters, who were much less likely to buy compared to renters in the 2021 survey. Renters also reported that they expect rents to be sharply higher twelve months from now, with the expected rate of increase more than twice that reported a year ago. The expected price of rent five years ahead also rose compared to expectations a year ago, but at a more moderate pace. 

Posted at 11:00 am in Expectations, Housing | Permalink
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