Market Update, May 25, 2023

We’re holding our breath, waiting to see if Congress raises the debt ceiling.

The debt ceiling, also known as the debt limit, is a legal limit on the amount of money the government can borrow to fund operations and meet financial obligations. It represents the maximum level of debt the government can accumulate and is set by Congress.

If the government hits the debt ceiling and the ceiling isn’t raised, the Treasury can’t issue new debt to cover the deficits or refinance existing debt as it comes due. 

This situation can create a risk of default, where the government may not be able to meet its financial obligations, including paying interest on existing debt, funding government operations, and making payments to various entities, such as Social Security recipients, contractors, and federal employees.

Raising or suspending the debt ceiling requires legislative action by Congress. Historically, when the debt ceiling is reached, lawmakers have raised it to avoid a potential default and allow the government to continue borrowing and functioning. However, the debt ceiling has been a source of political debate and contention, with negotiations and discussions often surrounding broader fiscal and budgetary issues.

If the debt ceiling is not raised, it could have a significant impact on the real estate market. However, it’s important to note that numerous factors influence the real estate market, and the outcome of a debt ceiling issue can be complex and intertwined with other economic conditions. Here are a few possible scenarios:

  1. Increase in Interest Rates: Interest rates will likely increase significantly if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. Higher interest rates would make borrowing more expensive, potentially dampening demand for real estate purchases and refinancing. 
  2. Decreased Consumer Confidence: A prolonged debate or uncertainty surrounding the debt ceiling could negatively affect consumer confidence. If people are concerned about the country’s financial stability, they may become hesitant to make significant investments such as buying homes. Reduced consumer confidence could slow the real estate market as potential buyers adopt a wait-and-see approach.
  3. Potential Economic Slowdown: Failing to raise the debt ceiling could trigger broader economic consequences. It may result in reduced government spending, job losses, reduced income, and a general economic slowdown. Such a slowdown could adversely affect the real estate market, as people may postpone home purchases and opt for more conservative financial decisions.
  4. Increased Volatility: Political and economic uncertainty stemming from a failure to raise the debt ceiling can introduce volatility into financial markets, including the stock market. Volatile markets can have a ripple effect on the real estate sector, affecting buyer sentiment and potentially decreasing property values.

We’ll say it again – nobody can predict the future. Exact outcomes depend on various factors.

The duration of the debt ceiling impasse, the government’s response, and the overall state of the economy will all determine what actually happens. Additionally, government officials often take measures to prioritize debt payments to avoid a catastrophic default, but the specific actions taken can vary and are subject to political negotiations and decisions.

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During the last week:
New Listings – 1358
Back On Market – 255
Price Increase – 152
Price Decrease – 1097
Pending – 1520
Withdrawn – 132
Closed – 1377
Expired – 207

Previous Week:
New Listings – 1460
Back On Market – 219
Price Increase – 143
Price Decrease – 1001
Pending – 1353
Withdrawn – 135
Closed – 1118
Expired – 155

Based on data from REColorado®

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