Low Interest Rates — Then & Now

Three (four?) years into the housing market downturn, what conclusion is it possible to draw?

In retrospect, it seems obvious (at least to me) that it was a liquidity-driven phenomenon.

Add a tsunami of cash, subtract any vestige of underwriting standards, and real estate will go up.

Subtract liquidity, and tighten lending standards . . . and it goes down.

No Pop from Low Rates

Astute market watchers will point out that, if cheap money drives real estate upwards, it should be positively flying now, because mortgage rates are at record lows.

What that analysis ignores is: 1) the cheap money is itself a symptom of the downturn, as the Fed is using cheap money (free to the banks) as its weapon of choice to support housing (the so-called “hair of the dog” cure); and 2) to qualify for a cheap mortgage, you must have good credit and a job.

If you’re a move-up Buyer, you also need some equity for a downpayment.
About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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