Sometimes ,I reflect back on writing this column for the past 17 years and flip through the copies to see what issues I have written about that have come to mould the current economic situation. Throughout the years, I’ve written about the impact on mortgage rates brought on by the assorted international conflicts and wars, the impact of 9/11, the price of gold and oil, innumerable banking crises and various governments teetering on the brink and the rather breathtaking fluctuations in the stock markets. The government shutdowns were always dramatic in terms of impacting interest rates.
Indeed these dramas have provided innumerable writers and commentators an endless stream of events to expound upon, and seldom a week went by for years when there was not something about to implode some aspect of the world economy.
But in the past six to nine months, guess what? The world has gotten downright dull and with the exception of the problems in the Ukraine recently there has not been much going on to create panic and uncertainty amongst investors.
The markets have had some ups and downs but they have been relatively tame with a slow upward trend. There have not been any bailouts of governments or banks or major currency drops, and at least no terrible news on the unemployment front (unless you are still unemployed). It was a long cold winter but the nation did not see catastrophic increases or shortages in heating oil and pot sales have not led to social chaos as predicted by some local watchers.
Indeed the big economic story this week seemed to be the price of limes has skyrocketed because the Mexican drug cartels are said to be expanding into the citrus business. Perhaps they are planning ahead for when the pot business becomes legal everywhere and they have to find new opportunities. After all, the margarita drinkers of the world will pay a lot to keep the lime juice flowing to wash down all those pot brownies.
So, what does this lack of drama mean for homeowners here in the valley and elsewhere? Overall, I think it is a good thing. While purchases of homes have not been stellar, a economic hangover is like a real hangover from too many margaritas — it just takes awhile to wear off. Potential homebuyers still are feeling a post-traumatic stress from about six years of seemingly endlessly bad economic news.
Shaking Off Economic Stress
But as consumers start to shake off the stress, see their job prospects as improving and their other assets recover, they should start buying more homes, cars, TVs and everything else that creates economic activity.
Right now in the past few months at my company we are seeing more inquiries about purchasing a home than we have seen in probably the past year combined. In many cases the inquiries are timid and preliminary, because many people aren’t sure what the rules are and what is now required to qualify but at least people have the courage and interest to ask. Another curious thing is that many of these inquiries are coming from out of state from people who are planning to relocate to Colorado or are being transferred here by their employers.
It would appear that there is not only an American dream that is still alive, but also a Colorado dream for many. I don’t see the folks I talk to that are moving to Colorado as either coming here because of legalized pot or really caring about it one way or the other.
Chris Neuswanger is a loan originator at Macro Financial Group in Avon and may be reached at 970-748-0342. He welcomes mortgage related inquiries from readers. His blog and a collection of his columns may be found at www.mtnmortgageguy.com.