UMich Buying Conditions For Housing PLUNGES To 63 Due To Outrageous Home Price Growth & Lessons From The Yellen Pivot

Just look at this chart of the University of Michigan Buying Conditions For Houses index. It was positive (meaning above 100) until shortly after COVID struck and The Federal Reserve rode to the rescue. National home price growth was already at 4.57% YoY in March 2020, then ballooned to 19.51% YoY at the last reading.

Here is the same chart with the broader M2 Money stock and The Fed’s Balance sheet. Same results, just not as dramatic as M1.

We will soon find out if The Federal Reserve will announce a rate hike or taper news. They are likely to confirm tapering, particularly if they believe that tapering won’t roil markets. After all, then Fed Chair Janet Yellen and the FOMC decided to let the Fed’s balance sheet taper (white line) while, at the same time, increasing the Fed’s target rate (yellow line). The S&P 500 index rose 9.5% over the taper/rate increase period of 12/29/2017 to 8/30/2019.

But since Stimulypto (2/28/2020 to 11/30/2021), the Fed’s balance sheet doubled+ from $4,158,637 to $8,681,771. And The Fed Funds Target Rate (UB) immediately fell from 1.75% in February 2020 to 0.25% in March 2020 … and has stayed there ever since. The S&P 500 index rose 54.6% over this Stimulypto period.

But The Fed’s upcoming decision on December 15, 2021 may be a Yellen-pivot (taper balance sheet, but raise The Fed Funds Target rate). But, then again, maybe not. The Fed is getting really bad about forward guidance and choose instead to surprise us. Hence, this is why an a-political rule is preferred (such as the Taylor Rule).

Unfortunately, the Taylor Rule infers a Fed Funds Target rate of 15.50% (using CPI YoY running at 6.20% YoY. If The Fed raises their target rate by 25-50 basis points at the December 15th meeting, color me surprised.

So, the Powell Pivot may just be the Yellen Pivot after all.