Thursday, November 13, 2008

How Unemployment May Make your House More Affordable

The economy shed 240,000 jobs in October 2008On the first Friday of every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Non-Farm Payrolls report.

More commonly, it's called the "jobs report" and the October's data is trending with the rest of 2008.

After shedding another 240,000 jobs last month, the economy has now put 1.2 million Americans out of work this year and unemployment rates have climbed to 14-year highs.

As a strange twist, though, today's weak jobs data may lead to a positive turn for the economy and for housing in 2009.

In the wake of the jobs report, members of Congress are already calling for both tax cuts and direct stimulus to reverse the course of the economy. Both of these actions would put money back into U.S. citizens' household budgets, spurring consumer spending nationwide.

Because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the economy, this would be expected to push the economy forward at a time when it natural forces are slowing it down.

In addition, markets are betting that the Federal Reserve will cut the Fed Funds Rate below its current 1.000 percent level. This, too, would spur spending because the Fed Funds Rate is directly tied to consumer credit card rates and business credit lines.

Expectations for stimulus are one reason why mortgage rates have not risen today as high as they otherwise would have if this were a "normal" market.

Mortgage rates are slightly elevated as we head into the weekend, but don't be surprised if there's a late-afternoon push that brings them lower. For active home buyers, this could help home affordability as we cruise towards the holiday season.

(Image courtesy: USA Today)

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