Inflation and Slowing Economy Weighs Heavy on Consumer Confidence
The results of Friday’s University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Report (UMCSENT) were lower than expected, emphasizing the impact of inflation and a slowing economy on consumer confidence. UMCSENT holds significance as it provides insight into the current sentiment of consumers, and the reading was not favorable. As we have previously mentioned, we believe that tackling inflation is always challenging. Although we anticipate short-term interest rates are approaching their peak, interest rates are not likely to decline as rapidly as some may hope. The Federal Reserve made a critical mistake by allowing inflation to exceed 9%. As a result, they will have to exercise caution in reducing interest rates until there is clear evidence that inflation has been effectively addressed.
In terms of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), overall inflation is showing signs of abatement. Regardless, super-core inflation ( which the Fed closely monitors) remains elevated. The Fed is prepared to accept a rise in unemployment and sustain potential market repercussions to bring down inflation. This strategy hinges on the recognition that inflation disproportionately affects the most vulnerable individuals. Additionally, it is important to consider that other factors continue to exert pressure on the prices of goods and services; like the post-Covid uncertainties in global supply chains and the absence of cheap labor from China.
Housing Supply, Consumer Sentiment, and Lending Sources
The surge in interest rates has prompted a decline in existing home sales. Borrowers looking to upsize or downsize their homes are hesitant to give up their mortgage rates of around 3% in exchange for new rates of 5% to 6% or higher. This trend has contributed to the rise in stock prices of new home builders. The housing market remains constrained, particularly in larger cities, due to limited supply.
There are concerns surrounding regional banks as deposits flee and smaller banks face balance sheet challenges. Stronger banks are positioned to acquire weaker ones. While these mini-regional bank crises are not systemic, they are creating a tighter lending environment. Many of these banks were involved in services like commercial office space as well as provided financing options for non-institutional sponsors, construction, and other specialized loans that larger money center banks often refused. We expect to witness further episodes of bank-related issues in the coming months.
At Insignia Mortgage, we are navigating this environment proactively. Our team of professional loan brokers has identified several interesting lending options, including credit unions, boutique banks, and larger private banks that offer excellent terms for the right clients. Here are some highlights:
- Loans up to $4MM with loan-to-values up to 80%
- Interest-only products available for high net worth borrowers up to $20 million
- Bank statement loan programs up to $7.5MM with rates in the low 7s
- Financing options with as low as 5% down payment for loans up to $1.5MM and 10% down payment for loans up to $2MM
- Foreign national loans ranging from $2MM to $30MM
We remain committed to finding innovative solutions and serving our clients with exceptional lending opportunities amidst this challenging market landscape.