What to expect at HousingWire’s Spring Summit

The focus of the Summit is The Year-Round Purchase Market. Record low rates led to a banner year for mortgage lenders in 2020, and this year is expected to be just as incredible.

How real estate agents can increase profitability in 2021

As real estate professionals strategize on how to do business in this competitive, fast-paced market, they’ll discover the need for better tools to market their listings.

HousingWire's 2021 Spring Summit

We’ve gathered four of the top housing economists to speak at our virtual summit, a new event designed for HW+ members that’s focused on The Year-Round Purchase Market.

An Honest Conversation on minority homeownership

In this episode, Lloyd interviews a senior research associate in the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute about the history and data behind minority homeownership.

Politics & Money

Federal Reserve cuts interest rate, signals pause

The Fed’s benchmark rate is now set in a range of 1.5% to 1.75%

The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark rate by a quarter of a percentage on Wednesday in a bid to keep the decade-long U.S. economic expansion going while signaling it likely was done, for now.

It was the Fed’s third consecutive quarter-point cut as the central bank tries to bolster the economy while preserving ammunition that would be needed if the nation sinks into a recession.

The FOMC post-meeting statement dropped its prior pledge to “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.” Instead, the committee promised to monitor data as it “assesses the appropriate path of the target range.” The Fed’s benchmark rate is now set in a range of 1.5% to 1.75%.

At the press conference following the decision, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell pointed to an economy growing at a moderate pace and unemployment near five-decade lows. While he cited some troubling signs, such as a manufacturing slowdown, he said it wasn’t enough to sway the “positive outlook” of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

“After cuts at the last three meetings, we feel that policy is well-position to support the outlook that I described,” he said. “We’re going to be watching all factors and if developments emerge that cause a material reassessment with that outlook, we would respond accordingly, but that’s what it would take: a material reassessment of our outlook.”

U.S. economic growth probably will slow to 2.1% in 2020, which would be the weakest pace since 2016, from 2.4% this year, the International Monetary Fund said in an Oct. 15 forecast. In 2018, the expansion rate hit a three-year high of 2.9% as changes to the federal tax rate that favored businesses provided a temporary boost.

In the last question of the press conference, a reporter asked Powell to comment on President Donald Trump’s tweet earlier in the day that simply said: “The Greatest Economy in American History!”

The president has been notably absent in the run-up to the Fed meeting. Before other meetings this year he tweeted multiple insults aimed at Powell and sometimes at the entire board, calling them “boneheads” and “clueless.”

This go-round, there was just one negative tweet, sent last week: “The Federal Reserve is derelict in its duties if it doesn’t lower the Rate and even, ideally, stimulate.”

Rather than responding to the president, Powell sidestepped the question.

“I’m going to maintain my longtime practice on not commenting on what any elected official might say,” Powell said before leaving the podium.

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