In remarkable news this week, explorers found Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance in nearly pristine condition 3,000 meters under Antarctic seawater. His story and those of his crew, who all survived a perilous journey, is not only one of endurance, but also courage and conviction. Important lessons for today.
Prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden Administration’s decision this week to stop imports of Russian oil and natural gas sent rising gas prices even higher, during a week that put even more economic pressure on average Americans.
How that affects home buying is difficult to assess as inventories remain at record low levels and home list prices continue to increase.
As issues of affordable housing gain a spotlight during this hot market, the National Association of REALTORS® reports that housing-value gap between households earning more than 200% of their area’s median income and other homeowners widened significantly between 2010 and 2020. In 2010, high-income homeowners held 28% of all U.S. housing wealth. By 2020, that figure rose to 42.6%.
Rent affordability is a growing concern. Less than one day after Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced measures to help qualified area residents with rental and move-in assistance, the program was paused because of the overwhelming number of applications.
In more up and down news, home lending dropped in the fourth quarter of 2021, likely due to homeowners refinancing before rates began to rise as well as the lack of sales inventory. Even so, lending remains above historic levels from the past decade and its thought the current slowdown is the result of converging trends rather than a slowdown in demand.
That may be evident by Walmart’s decision to partner with Lenders One Cooperative to sell mortgage products and services inside its retail space. Costco has a similar relationship with CrossCountry Mortgage.
Spencer Rascoff, former Zillow CEO, certainly thinks iBuying has a future, largely because of its benefit and service to consumers. “Small profits today will become big profits tomorrow,” he said.
Finally, the financial struggles of some EV makers have made headlines lately, but now gas prices have some speculating that electric vehicles will garner more serious attention from prospective buyers. Historically drivers have shifted to vehicles with greater fuel efficiency when prices at the pump rise.