Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Consumer Prices: Where Is The Next Burst Of Transitory Coming From?

 Our astute and long-suffering readers are way ahead of me:

"Rent inflation is going to drive shelter inflation higher by the end of the summer."  

"National Eviction Moratorium Invalidated by Federal Judge"

"Wall Street’s Rental Gambit"  

"What Happens When Investment Firms Acquire Trailer Parks"

BlackRock: "The Enigma and Intangibility of Inflation"

The housing sector is a far more influential force on the economy than are financial assets (home ownership rates are triple that of equity ownership), and yet in aggregate homes are also enjoying similarly robust price appreciation. A majority of the population are homeowners, and we have written about consumer preference having shifted, as a result of the pandemic, toward non-urban ownership rather than urban rentals (see our recent piece In Unprecedented Times, Don’t Rely on (Obvious) Precedent). National house prices are up 17% over the last year, according to Bloomberg data (as of April 12, 2021), even as rents in large urban centers like New York are down (but clawing their way back as vaccination rates rise). So, while urban rental markets are important, they should not dictate monetary policy at the aggregate level, especially since the causes of price weakness in the markets in question have been extremely well telegraphed: social distance.....