As Unemployment Rises, Homes Get More Affordable


According to the government, American businesses are cutting staff at an accelerated pace, most recently paring 533,000 jobs this past November.

It’s the largest one-month decline since December 1974 and raises the year-to-date job losses to 1.9 million workers.

However, there is a silver lining in the data for all Americans — both employed and unemployed.

With each piece of negative news about the economy, Washington is more likely to pass new stimulus packages to the benefit of household budgets.

On one front, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has already alluded to further Fed Funds Rate cuts at the Fed’s two-day meeting starting December 15.  Because the Fed Funds Rate is directly tied to Prime Rate, any cut in the benchmark lending rate would lead “floating” interest rates lower on home equity credit lines and other revolving debt.

And this talk from the Fed also comes on the heels of its $500 billion pledge to buy mortgage-backed bonds.  That demand-shifting move was announced last week and drove mortgage rates lower.  It also marked the official start of the refinancing boom.

And, lastly, Capitol Hill is already responding to the jobs data with calls for “urgent” action.  It’s a vague term, to be sure, but history has shown that Congress could pass any number of measures, each meant to put more money into household budgets nationwide.

The U.S. is in a verified recession and Washington is throwing the kitchen sink at it.

The end result is that today’s job data is a non-event of sorts for active home buyers.  Mortgage markets expected a poor reading and they got it.  Normally, data like this would cause mortgage rates to spike but this is not a normal market.

Now, with markets expecting additional stimulus, mortgage rates are edging lower today with hopes of an economic rebound.

Employers cut 533,000 jobs in Nov., most since 1974
Barbara Hagenbaugh
December 5, 2008, USA Today