Recap: Up, Up, and Away

Inflation, housing, and you: Key takeaways from our recent webinar

Late last month, our “Up, Up, and Away” webinar gave housers a complete lowdown on inflation and what it means for our work. We had a great turnout, and hope you were able to join us! If you weren’t — or you would just like to revisit any part of it — here are the links to our speakers’ presentations, and to a complete recording on our YouTube channel.

Recording and Slides

Sonya Waddell, Vice President and Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Housing and Inflation (PDF)

Michael Urban, Managing Director of Homeownership at Virginia Housing
Helping Virginians Attain Quality, Affordable Housing in Inflated Times (PDF)

Here are 3 key takeaways from their presentations and responses to audience questions.

Inflation’s impact on housing

Inflation affects our housing markets significantly, influencing overall price and affordability trends. Homebuyers face the most apparent challenges, especially as high inflation coincides with rising interest rates, but they aren’t alone. Inflation can depress construction, which prevents new supply from meeting demand, and keeps rents high. Housing practitioners should do their best to understand these dynamics.

Ways to overcome inflation

Inflation can’t be reversed, but we can mitigate its effects by pursuing both demand-side (increasing household purchasing power) and supply-side (keeping development costs low) strategies. To assist first-time homebuyers, Virginia Housing is “stacking” down-payment assistance, interest rate reductions, and other resources. They’re also addressing the supply crunch by investing in off-site construction solutions that help deliver new homes quickly and affordably.

What lies ahead

As the Federal Open Market Committee continues to aim for a soft landing, shelter costs will likely be a major point of discussion. If increases in home prices and rents don’t mellow out, the Fed will be hard pressed to get inflation back to its 2% target. The good news is that we’re moving in the right direction; the bad news is that it might take longer than we want. More to the point: housers should keep doing what we’re doing.

Do you have a great idea for a webinar we could organize in the future? If so, let us know!

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