WHEN IT RAINS, IT POOR'S... With the US already facing tough decisions over its national debt, the credit rating firm Standard and Poor's last week cut its credit outlook on the US from stable to negative. Standard & Poor's also said the US's AAA credit rating could be cut within two years, if headway isn't made in closing the budget gap. This is important because countries have credit ratings, just like individuals.
But what does all this mean? Let's break it down...
First of all, it's important to note that the downgrade to the credit outlook was a long time coming, and Traders in the pits even joked that S&P is late to the party with this call. For more information about different countries credit ratings - as well as your own state's credit ratings - check out this Credit Ratings Link.
All joking aside, this is a serious issue, as the last thing the US wants to endure is an outright credit downgrade. That would make the interest expense on the US debt even more burdensome - and, remember, we are all on the hook for this debt and the carrying costs.
But if this was a long time coming, what sparked the change in outlook? The S&P cited the wide political divide amongst Congress as a major hurdle to meaningfully lower the federal budget deficit. Both parties want to lower the deficit but there is stark disagreement on how to get there. Hopefully, the S&P's actions will spark a fire in Congress to get serious and get something done.
How does this issue impact Bonds and home loan rates?
The national debt concerns won't be addressed easily, especially when you remember that the country is approaching the debt-ceiling limit on May 16th. So in the immediate future, this will make for more volatility in the markets as headlines gyrate both Stocks and Bonds. Bonds are in an even tougher spot in the long term - and here's why:
First... if the US government is successful in taking action to lower the budget deficit and avoid an outright credit downgrade, then we should expect a longer duration of accommodative Fed monetary policy, as the Fed doesn't want an economic slowdown to recreate a "deflationary" environment. If things do slowdown significantly, we may start hearing debate for a QE3 (or a third round of Quantitative Easing), which would not be good for Bonds and home loan rates.
Second... if the US debt received an outright downgrade, it would be really bad for Bonds. As it stands now, this doesn't seem likely and you shouldn't be overly alarmed. But, it's important to understand what is at stake here. The bottom line is that with some extra belt tightening as a result of this issue, we could expect to see slower economic growth in the future, as government spending would have to slow immensely to help close the budget gap.
That said... home loan rates remain historically low right now. However, there are a lot of headwinds for Bonds down the road and last week's credit outlook downgrade was just another one.
Now's the time to learn more about these issues and see how you can take advantage of the current low home loan rates and affordable home prices. It only takes a few minutes to look at your specific situation. Call or email to get started.
This article is excerpted from an email by Wrayanne Wallace of Guild Mortgage
If you already have an approved home budget, I would be happy to help you find that perfect home in the Dallas/Collin County area.