To understand if this fateful combination— high debt plus cooling housing sector—could produce a sequel to the Great Recession, I reached out to Bill McBride, a famously prescient economic analyst and the author of the Calculated Risk blog. “I do not see any signs of a recession in the next 6 months,” McBride said. “I think the economy is pretty solid. Recently new home sales have slowed due to several headwinds, mostly higher mortgage rates and the new tax policy. “ As the Millennial generation continues to pay down student debt and move into its peak-earning years, he predicted “further increases in new home sales and single family starts over the next couple of years.” His verdict: a slowdown, perhaps; but not a downturn.
If you’re going to worry, you should worry about three things: exports, China, and perhaps the looming shadow of corporate debt. But there’s nothing in the economy that would seem to predict an imminent recession.
Or at least, that was my conclusion before Bill McBride sent me a follow-up email.
“Just saw Larry Kudlow’s remarks. Maybe I’m wrong!”