Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Instant Reaction: Consumer Price Index, December 10, 2021

"If you are younger than 40 years old, then you have never experienced such high inflation. Consumer prices rose 6.8% in November. We are already well aware of higher food and gasoline prices, up 6% and 58% respectively from a year ago. Rents are up 3% and accelerating at better than 5% on an annualized basis. The heating bill will not be pretty, as natural gas prices are higher by 25%. This rapid inflation is the reason higher mortgage rates are expected in 2022. The Federal Reserve will have to raise interest rates to contain them. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is likely to reach 3.7% by the end of 2022 from the current near 3% rate.

"One aspect of inflation is that real estate has proven to be a good hedge. In the 1970s, a high inflationary period when CPI averaged 7.1% per year, home price gains outpaced inflation with a 9.9% gain. Even when interest rates soared in the 1980s and thereby crushed home sales, home prices still held up to consumer price inflation: 5.5% versus 5.6%. That’s because rents were soaring. Other decades also show similar patterns. Therefore, for those concerned about the loss in purchasing power of money and savings, be assured that real estate has proven to be a good hedge against inflation."