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Mike Simonsen

A true data geek, Mike founded Altos Research in 2006 to bring data and insight on the U.S. housing market to those who need it most. The company now serves the largest Wall Street investment firms, banks, and tens of thousands of real estate professionals around the country.

In this episode of the Top of Mind podcast, Mike Simonsen sits down with Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, to talk about the latest housing market and macroeconomic forecast released this week from the mortgage giant. Len explains how Freddie Mac does their forecasting, what they see for the coming year in real estate, how last year’s real estate boom skews today’s inflation numbers, and more. Download the latest research at https://freddiemac.com/research.

About Len Kiefer

Len Kiefer

Len Kiefer has served as Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac since December 2012. He is responsible for primary and secondary mortgage market analysis and research, macroeconomic analysis, and forecasting. He also analyzes policy issues affecting the housing industry. Before joining Freddie Mac as a Senior Economist in 2009, Len was an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University, where he conducted research on macroeconomics and monetary policy. Previously, he taught economics at Ohio State University and finance at George Mason University. Len is a Member of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association and the American Economics Association.

 
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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • The mechanics behind Freddie Mac’s sophisticated economic forecasting
  • What Freddie Mac’s latest forecast says about the coming year in real estate
  • How last year’s real estate boom skews today’s inflation numbers
  • The impact of migration and remote work on home prices
  • What the future holds for mortgage rates
  • Len Kiefer’s creative approach to data visualization and storytelling

Resources mentioned in this episode:

About Altos Research

The Top of Mind Podcast is produced by Altos Research.

Each week, Altos tracks every home for sale in the country - all the pricing, and all the changes in pricing - and synthesizes those analytics to make them available before becoming visible through traditional channels.

Schedule a demo to see Altos in action. You can also get a copy of our free eBook: How To Use Market Data to Build Your Real Estate Business.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:02  

Welcome to Top of Mind, the show where we talk to real estate industry insiders and experts about the biggest trends impacting the market today. Enjoy the show.

Mike Simonsen  0:13  

Mike Simonsen here. Thanks for joining me today. Welcome to the Top of Mind podcast. This is where I talked to the smartest leaders, thinkers, and doers in the real estate industry. For a few years now, we've been sharing the latest market data each week in our weekly video series and Altos Research. With a new Top of Mind podcast, we're looking to add some context to the discussion about what's happening in the market from from the leaders in the industry. Each week, altos research tracks every home for sale in the country, all the pricing all the supply and demand all the changes in that data. And we make it available to you before you see it in the traditional channels. People desperately need to know what's happening in the housing market right now. It's been so hot, so competitive, and now that landscape is suddenly changing. So you know, when people ask me, Mike, can I get the data for my local market? Can we understand what's going on in my local area? The answer is yes. Go to altosresearch.com for a free consultation on how you can use the local real estate market data in your business. So without further ado, I'm happy to introduce my guest today, Len Kiefer from the deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. Len has been at Freddie Mac for 13 years and is responsible for primary and secondary mortgage market analysis and research macro, macro economic analysis and forecasting. And we're gonna talk about some forecasting today. He also analyzes policy issues affecting the housing industry before Freddie Mac, you as an assistant professor at Texas Tech University, where he conducted research on macro economics and monetary policy. Len. Welcome. Hey, Mike.

Len Kiefer  1:58  

It's great to be here. Thanks for having me on.

Mike Simonsen  2:01  

Awesome. Well, let's, let's dive in. Let's start with tell us a little bit about Freddie Mac and your role there. You know, our audience is a lot of real estate professionals, but also investors and traders, and all of the folks that need to know what's happening in the real estate market right now. So tell us about Freddie Mac and your role there.

Len Kiefer  2:22  

Yeah. Thanks, Mike. Yeah, so I'm sure many people in the housing industry may have heard of Freddie Mac, and depending on your involvement, you may or may not know exactly what we do. So just to give you a little bit of a rundown, you know, Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress. So we're what's called a government sponsored enterprise. And you know, our mission is to help make you know, affordable and liquid housing market where the credit is available to potential homebuyers and renters across the country. So it's really our core mission is to help the housing market facilitate financing of homes on the single family front and multifamily apartments on the multifamily fronts. We fund Freddie Mac funds about one in four, one in five of single family homes in the country and is one of the largest single sources of multifamily financing. So we're really deeply involved in the US housing market. That's the core of our mission. And a lot of folks at Freddie's a large organization really dedicated that mission. So I work in a group called our economic and housing Research Group. I'm the Deputy Chief Economist, my bosses is Freddie Mac's chief economist Sam cater, and he leads a team of economists and analysts who now wear two different hats. We wear a hat when we're talking externally. So we're often speaking to the public to trade groups, industries, folks on the call may have seen me or my boss, you know, speaking at a different event where you know, a Freddie Mac economist might be helpful to help explain what's going on in the economy, housing, and overall mortgage market. We also help internally, right, there's a lot of folks at Freddie who are deeply invested in understanding what's going on in the evolving housing, market and manage risk in a very large portfolio of mortgage loans, multifamily loans, they want to understand what may happen with home prices, what's going to happen in the general macro economy and rents, home sales, all of those housing market indicators are really important for how you know our business partners to help manage the risks facing the company. And so it's a very intense business, especially over the last couple of years, as we've had these enormous shocks hitting the US economy and US housing market. We'll talk I'm sure a lot about that. But you know, we were definitely talking internally, we're talking externally, we're trying to do our best analysis to answer these really important questions that are facing our industry and the country as a whole.

Mike Simonsen  4:31  

That's great. Well, and because you do a quarterly forecast market forecast, which is out now we're going to talk we're going to dive in a little bit about what what we're looking at what we're expecting what we what what are some of the variables. We're going to do that in just a second. We're going to get to some of that data. But But first I'm interested you said Freddie Mac funds one in four one in five mortgages. What does that mean font?

Len Kiefer  4:58  

Oh, yeah, so So we sold by our, you know, our charter, right, which was issued by conga and act of Congress, right, we are not allowed to be in the primary mortgage markets, which means Freddie Mac themselves ourselves, we can't issue a mortgage loan, right, we cannot go out and make a loan to an individual, what we can do is purchase those loans from primary market participants. Those are your banks, your credit unions, your mortgage company, the folks that are actually you know, dealing with customer borrowers, right, if I'm purchasing a home, right, the bank or the mortgage company will, you know, make that loan, and then to help, you know, replenish their funds, right, they can go into the secondary market and sell that loan. So, if they don't have a big balance sheet, if they're not a large depository bank that has a lot of savings deposits, to help fund them, for mortgage companies, they can go into the secondary market and sell the loans. And those loans are then purchased by folks like Freddie and some some others out there, right, that the purchase those loans, put them together and structured securities which help investors manage the risks associated with those loans, and help ultimately reduce the cost to borrowers, right, by having the securitization the secondary market creates a very liquid market, right, it makes the cost of borrowing ultimately, for prospective homebuyers and, and refinance borrowers much lower because they can tap into global capital markets, right, we're able to sell these securities not just here domestic in the United States, but around the world. And since many investors, you know, really want to be invested in, you know, US dollar denominated securities, and they like to be invested in real estate, that can be a very useful instrument. And it really ultimately the benefit then to the homebuyer is the lower mortgage rates,

Mike Simonsen  6:39  

a lower mortgage rate and, and more availability of that credit and things like that. And, and, and so Freddie Mac exists, because at some point, the federal government said, like, we think it's important for people to be able to buy houses, and we want to facilitate that transaction.

Len Kiefer  6:59  

Yeah, and there is a, you know, a sister organization that you may have heard of that Fannie Mae was very similar actually was created earlier out of the Great Depression. So as a New Deal program, because you know, the, if you've seen a wonderful life, or United saw the sort of folks pressures that folks were facing in depression, you know, a local banks really had trouble with capital. And so it helped to sort of create more stable financial system, Fannie Mae was created. And then later on in 1970, was when Freddie Mac was created to provide a little bit of competition and you know, but very similar in our business models and overall mission.

Mike Simonsen  7:31  

That's interesting. So it's really about so that it's a little bit of not just all the market going through one player, it's having a separate second it was was created to have a second organization there. Yeah, yeah. Interesting. I didn't know that. I didn't know that about why, why that happened there. So I want to talk a little bit about your background and how you got here, especially one of the things that you're well known for is your visualization skills at taking the data and presenting it to people in really powerful ways. So before we start talking about forecasts, and where the markets going, and things, tell us Tell, tell me how you like, where you got here, where how you developed your expertise in and like, give us that story?

Len Kiefer  8:14  

Yeah, so I'm not an economist by training. So I actually myself was not a housing was not focused on my graduates program, I was in more of a macro time series, you know, applied forecasting. So that's related, right. But But I, you know, I came out of grad school, my wife's also an economist, she took, we took jobs at Texas Tech University, but you know, she was only there as a visitor. So she moved to DC pursue opportunities, I followed her, and then, you know, got hired on at Freddie Mac, which was, you know, ultimately a great place to work. I, I knew some folks that happen to work in there, you know, that had hired on to Friday. And I'm really fortunate to get that, you know, position and get to work with a lot of smart people, one of the great things about working there as you will care about the mission, but they also are pretty smart, they'll be managing the risk and modeling and analyzing the market and you can learn a lot and one of the things that became very clear, is a real challenge for smart people are don't really detail focus people, people to get a PhD and go through a lot of training as you get in depth. And you really know have to know a subject matter and its ins and outs at at an extreme focus, right? That's what is required really to complete a PhD in America. But that doesn't lend itself very well to business communication, right? So you are spending your life on a dissertation, right? Or five years of your life where you're focused on it, and you get a chance to tell your professors and things they'll listen, but when you're in a business meeting, right, they don't have a lifetime or a long time for you to explain everything. You really have to be able to communicate powerfully they need their they, they want the insights, right? They want smart people that have advanced training that can help them manage risk and think about things in a sophisticated way. But they want to be able to understand it in a in a in a quicker way and to get to the point and really drive hard. And so I was fortunate enough that that Friday actually had sponsored some training on data visualization Should there's a an expert named Edward Tufte who people who study, visualizations may know he has the seminars or at least he used I think he still has them but where he would go around in a ballroom in Arlington Virginia was our was and he would you know, talk about his books and talk about no effective, you know, methods for data visualization. It was like a two or three day thing and it was really eye opening for me to think about all the criticisms that he had about different visualizations. I was looking at stuff I had been working on very clearly violating all of those Maxim's I really wasn't even aware. Right. The thing that was I wasn't even aware of data visualization, as a science as an art and really was not developing this was probably in the mid 2000s, or late 2009 or so was when I was in this training. And I really opened my eyes and I said, Wow, this is really powerful. You know, this is a scientific way of thinking about these things. This is going to also really help me in being able to communicate to non economists that are, you know, smart people, but they're busy. And they're experts, but they're not focused on the thing I'm looking at, they're not willing to look through my giant spreadsheet and look at all the numbers they need to get to the point. And these visualization tools, if used effectively can really enhance that. And so I really bought in No, of my boss at the time was very much bought into that, and the team and so we had embraced that as a philosophy. And I got to learn in practitioners, people that were using those techniques, I could see it right. It wasn't just I went to this training, they talked about it and said, Okay, you flip through the books and forgot about it. No. The next week, when I was there, I was actually paying attention to what my colleagues were doing. And they were applying this principles these ideas of, you know, effective data visualization, which is now more widespread. No, it was more like a secret sauce. Now, it's still a secret sauce, but less so right. Because more people are aware, the general quality of visualization in financial industry where I work has risen a lot, partially due to these types of trainings in this awareness, but it was really helped me succeed early on in my career and become a better communicator, a better way to get across the key points in an effective way. And it's a it's a great exercise and I embrace it almost daily. I'm making a new data visualization, not all of them are works of art are are effective, but I learned something from every time and that practice that habit really trains your mind to think about, okay, what's the important part about this data? You know, there's all these data releases that come out, what do I really want to focus on? Where am I going to help people understand what I can understand by looking at it and using these different techniques I've found to be really enriching, really rewarding. constantly learning, there's a new, it's a growing field, people are coming up with new visualizations new tools, new techniques, and it's really exciting. It's a kind of hobby of mine, even outside of work, you know, I'll look at these things and see what people are coming up with and check out different blogs and Twitter feeds and other things where people are sharing these ideas, which are really, you know, really growing and developing and really advancing pretty rapidly, I'd

Mike Simonsen  12:48  

say, yeah, for sure. I've taken the tough D class too. And I've got books on the shelf behind me too. Oh, yeah. And I learned a tonne. And I noticed you do things very well. Some of the tough the principles, you do very well, like the information density, like, like I've watched you do 40 years of mortgage rates into like a one chart, like one visualization. And like that's, it's not just one line for 40 years, it's 40 separate lines. And it's and, and but you can really call that I know, you use colour very effectively, to highlight the things that you want to tell the story that you want to tell in the data.

Len Kiefer  13:25  

Yeah, yeah. Mike, you mentioned mortgage. Right. That's actually a great example, because at Friday, we published this mortgage rate survey, the primary mortgage market survey that has been around since 19, seven, the almost the exception of Freddie Mac. So for more than 50 years, I haven't been working on it for 50 years, but I've been working on it every week for the last decade, right. And every week, we have a new mortgage, right? And so part of the exercises and almost a meditation around the mortgage rates is to create a new chart or challenge myself, you know, to see, like, Can I look at this in a different way, because looking at the same thing, you know, it's recently it's been very dramatic. So there's been a lot to look at, but some weeks, you know, it's a blip here or there. And so trying to think at different ways, or the different angles, it's a real, you know, nice sort of exercise, just to look at a single data series for 10 years thinking about it every week and coming up, you know, with a slightly different variation on it. You might you can refine some things and you try to iterate I think I think really important is iteration, you start something, you don't just stick, you know, you got to try to learn, you try experiment, you take some risks, things don't always work out color. I've made many, many errors with that. But sometimes you find something maybe by luck, that actually tends to work a little bit and then you kind of learn to build.

Mike Simonsen  14:32  

That's great. And so for listeners or watchers who haven't who don't know, land in his work, follow lead on Twitter, because we get to see that publication and you've actually written some good blog posts about the work you do. And the decisions you've made especially in the our code, right usually working art.

Len Kiefer  14:49  

Yeah, I use art that was you know, the language that that really works for me. And I try to share because I've learned so much from people. So if I make something that I think might be interesting, I often posted on my personal blog, people can freely look at that and modify it, do whatever they find useful with it or try to learn because I've learned so much if it's helpful, I really enjoy that. It's also a reference for me later on, I can, oh, I made this chart, I can go to my you know my page there and find it. So I don't have to look through my model directories, which might be a little messy,

Mike Simonsen  15:19  

might be a little messy. That's, that's so much fun. And one of the most one of the ones maybe your most viral of those was the was the job loss time series chart, which you animated, so that we could watch job loss go across time, and then and then all of a sudden, COVID. And it rocketed through the it was so dramatic. I think a lot of people pick that up and pay attention.

Len Kiefer  15:46  

Yeah, you know, animation animation is one of those things, it's hit or miss, right? You can easily go wrong with it, or you can do things that aren't necessary. But in that case, I think, you know, if you just use the historical standard deviation, it was like 30 Sigma, right. So it's this, it was off the charts, right? You've seen it, it's like this hockey stick straight vertical up. And it was so dramatic that bikes, you know, I had the access expand. And so that really drove home, just how unique the economic environment was in March of 2020. Nothing we'd ever seen. And lots of time series. So yeah, and that really resonated with a lot of people, because they were obviously feeling that things were way different at that time than anything they could ever remember. Yeah,

Mike Simonsen  16:23  

that's, that's for sure. And we actually, along the last couple of years, we've had a visualization that has been picked up and been really powerful, too. So that was this dramatically unusual condition that you illustrated, because that the the axis, the Y axis doesn't move very far. And then all of a sudden, it moved a long way. And when we would do, we would show inventory of homes for sale, we could watch the same curve over time getting lower and lower and lower the peaks of the summer, lower each year. And then, and then when COVID hit it just dropped through the floor. And in because we were able to illustrate that for people the world took notice. And it was suddenly like, you know that like, wow, this is really happening. It's and it's really made it concrete for people really, really fascinating. But that actually, you talked about the forecast, you know, and you're in your weekly measurement. That let's let's switch gears a little a little bit and talk about the latest forecast. So I'm interested in talking about you know, the way you and Freddie Mac and the team there is viewing the future of the real estate and mortgage market. What's what we should expect coming or what you expect to come. And I'm also interested in we can get into this in a minute is is how do you forecast in a in a market that's changing this fast? So tell us about so the new the new quarterly survey forecast surveys out? Tell us about what that covers. And and and you know what we should be thinking about for the coming however far out you're forecasting?

Len Kiefer  18:10  

Yeah, thanks, Mike. So my team and my Boston folks on work with me helped put together a quarterly forecast. Some folks do a monthly forecast, we find that actually, you know, the amount of new information, our ability to process it isn't really improved month to month, we do some things internally, but but really, that seems the right frequency for us to try to come up with a new view now that things get rapidly dated and quickly changing environment. Environment but still think that's the most useful thing for us to do so but we're constantly watching and tracking these things in real time and, and our forecast is really focused on the things that Freddie Mac is really Keely folk key focused on. So we do not do abroad GDP or CPI. Although we forecast we focus more narrowly on the US single family housing market. So our we have some friends. And we they do a bi twice a year multifamily Outlook. So we're focusing on the single family housing market. So we focus on mortgage originator or mortgage interest rates, the home sells home prices. And then mortgage originations because one of the things that we have, I think a lot of insight on it, we have a lot of data, we can track what's happening in terms of the mortgage market, how many, you know, we do it by dollar volume, how many billions of dollars of mortgage originations are each relative limit in the in the horizon, we go out a year or two, we're probably getting into the midpoint of currently we go out to 2023 Probably, you know, the next quarter will probably be ready to roll in and start, you know, for 2024, which sounds like crazy science fiction, just how far away that is, but it'll be here soon enough, right. And so, so we do that exercise and what we really focus on is trying to kind of think negatively about what's the current situation in the economy and what is the most likely path forward for the housing market and for ticularly in the mortgage market, right, they kind of go in lockstep with home sales and house prices go a certain direction that almost dictates what the purchase originations market is going to look like. I mean, those cash sales, so there's a little bit of slippage. But it's but it's pretty highly correlated. And the refinance market is going to depend critically on what's happening with mortgage interest rates. So there's a nice synergy among the elements that we forecast. And it really hinges on a view that our chief economist and the team, my team folks would work with me to help supporting Sam, our boss to think through okay, what are the key factors facing the economy? Where are we right now? Because in the mortgage market, a lot of the data, I know you do great work tracking data and all this, right? A lot of the data is not clear, right? And there's not a single authoritative source, although I'm sure you might have some opinions on who should be authoritative source for certain things. But you know, for mortgage originations, for example, that is tracked, no, the Fannie Mae and the Mortgage Bankers Association also put out forecasts and analysis. But we don't always agree even on the history, because the data that comes out is with a lag. And we have to interpret because there's not a census of mortgage originators. So we have to even figure out what happened, you know, earlier this year was an actual bar debate. And when we were putting together our latest forecasts, we were talking a lot about what actually happened in early 2022. Because that's going to dictate, you know, the trend, right? If you bump things up, and you think in percentage changes, then that's going to influence the whole path forward. So it's a lot of rich discussion, we actually look at a lot of different data sources to help us understand where we are today, and then put on our best thinking about okay, what do we think's going to happen in the broader economy? How do we think different policies, you know, what is the Fed going to do? What's going to happen in terms of, you know, fiscal policy? Is there going to be any major changes? Or is there going to be a recession, factor that all together and then think, Well, where are we in the housing market with its own unique circumstances? You mentioned super low inventory, maybe it's coming up, but how much does it have to come up before house prices start to cool off from this scorching hot rate? They've been at what's gonna happen with home sales now that mortgage interest rates have jumped up more than two percentage points. And then how's that going to filter through to the mortgage origination market, you know, refinance volumes are going to contract quite a lot. There's very few borrowers today who could benefit from a rate refinance. Some borrowers have a lot of equity, or many homeowners have a lot of equity. So there is still some cash out refinance activity. And so when we think through the forecast here to think well, how much do we think there will be a purchase side is really a function largely of home sales, and house prices, and also a view on what we may think happens on the cash all cash part of the home sales market?

Mike Simonsen  22:34  

Yeah, that's really the that's really deep in single family, the market? So let's start with the question, what's going to happen with the macro economy?

Len Kiefer  22:45  

Yeah. Well, you know, one of the things that we'll come back to approach, right, because we this is like our Base View. And we put together a cogent view that we think fits together. But we always got to think through scenarios, right. But on our base view, so you know, it looks like we're gonna skirt recession, right? There's concern, certainly, in the in the environment. And you know, that's certainly a possibility. And it's increased. So you know, since the beginning of this year, if you think about the broader economic conditions, think about the labour market, still very low unemployment rate, job growth was very strong in the most recent data that I've seen, which would have been through June, right of 2022. So while there will probably be, inevitably a slowdown in the broader economy, it doesn't necessarily mean recession. And if that's the context of the labour market, maybe see some softening, right? If there's job openings down a little bit, but the unemployment rate doesn't spike like it would in a recession, then that environment shapes up to be a challenging environment for the housing market, because rates are so high, but much less challenging. That would be word, the overall, you know, economy to slip into recession. So that's undergirds our baseline view, but there's certainly, you know, big risks you want to consider on either side.

Mike Simonsen  24:00  

Yeah. So that's interesting that that as of right now, the view is sort of that looks like will skirt recession. And I mean, I can, I can understand, I can understand that. And I'm sympathetic to it. Although it looks like maybe the bond markets and things are kind of now leaning towards likely to recession more more likely than not, is that is that true? I'm not a bond guy. So I don't really know.

Len Kiefer  24:23  

So my former chief economist was a bond guy, I'm not there in the thick of it. And, you know, it's a real risk to over interpret the bond market. I know, the tendency is there. And I know the narratives are there. But there are many narratives that can fit the data points we have. And so I'm cautious in over interpreting that. But certainly, there's a signal there, right. And the fact that, you know, relative to peak, you know, and like it's late June and early July, the rates have eased a little bit, which tells you something about the long run view, but you know, it's a lot of volatility too. And so things can shift pretty quickly and so much hinges on expectations for where the future is going. tend to be that, that that, you know, we can see things swing pretty quickly even between, you know, just a short time. So that's something to be cautious about overreacting to that. For sure.

Mike Simonsen  25:09  

Okay, that's fair enough. So, so if we skirt recession, what are the other macro trends that we in the housing market should be, like, aware of or sensitive to, are expecting over the next year, year and a half? Yeah,

Len Kiefer  25:27  

I think a really important thing that folks that are analyzing the housing market or professionals busy working in the housing market have to really keep in mind is the full impact of the COVID pandemic, right, we're not completely through the pandemic, while our you know, our our hope is from the economic point of view, the impact will be relatively small, we're not anticipating, you know, a major sort of shift there, that's a risk but, but even in the world where, you know, we find the case rates remain relatively low and manageable, and there's no new spikes in the variance, no new variant emerges. Even in that world, we have to deal with all of the shifts that occurred because of the pandemic. And, and one of the most important was the migration of people during and at no currently ongoing, because of the shifts that happened in the pandemic. In fact, some analysts, you know, folks at the Fed that have looked at this have said that perhaps as much as half of the increase in house prices could be due to the fact that the pandemic opened up, you know, remote work options, and that people have moved across the country. And in our own research notes that we've put out on our website, we're doing a series of research notes related to migration during and after the pandemic, or through the pandemic period. And we're definitely seeing that the fact that folks were able had some more flexibility, they could leave some of the higher cost markets and move to what were for them lower cost markets, put enormous pressure on those markets, and contributed to the very strong rates of house price growth in places like your Boise, Nashville, parts of the southeast, where even though you know, the prices have gone up a lot from where they were a year ago, they're still relatively low, like if you're comparing Boise to the Bay Area, for example, or, you know, New York or DC to the some of the southeastern markets, so, so that just that dislocation, that rebalancing, that shift is really important. And it's really important how permanent is, and we don't know, because we're still, you know, analyzing it, but it looks like probably, I think, you know, to some extent, those remote work options aren't going to swing 100% back to where they were pre COVID. And so a lot of those markets may well have seen this permanent shift higher in demand. And I think people who will remember this, will be thinking about that, when they're considering the kind of house they want to buy, right? I'm talking to you right now, from my home office, where I'm fortunate enough to be able to work, not everyone can do that. But I'm fortunate enough to be able to work remotely and you know, from time to time, and that that option, you know, people need more space, right there in a small place. And I was talking to some folks, you know, doing their work from an ironing board during, you know, in 2020, right, that's not a long term viable solution. They're like, well, I better probably better, you know, get some more space or a better place where I can if I'm going to be doing this long term. So I think that created a big shift in the demand. Is it permanent? We don't know. But it's something to watch for it's absolutely has been very highly correlated with the dynamics in the housing markets. And so how that balance is out, is going to be crucially important going forward.

Mike Simonsen  28:20  

Yeah, I think that's it's a real critical observation that it was probably half of the home price gains over the last few years were because we could export home prices from the Bay Area and New York and DC to everywhere else in the country. That's, I think a real important insight, if that feels to me feels to be pretty permanent. You know, I, I have an office in downtown San Francisco. And yeah, it's still pretty empty. You know, like, I use it because I like to have an office I like to have the space to go to. But man, like, you know, there's nobody's planning on going back there. So it's really like there's some long term impacts on that. Have you had so at Freddie, you you can work remote? Sometimes you're working you had sort of doing hybrid? What are you doing?

Len Kiefer  29:07  

Yeah, yeah, we're doing a hybrid. I mean, it varies somewhat by team. But in general, we are, you know, coming back part of the week, a couple of days a week, a

Mike Simonsen  29:13  

couple days a week, which seems pretty common here. It does seem like I was talking with Adam osmek, who is an economist and he he's pointed out, he's strongly in the remote work space. And he was pointing out that it seems like the trend is only increasing. Now, for more remote work, as opposed to less post pandemic time or at the end of the pandemic. Are there other macro functions that we should be thinking about or variables that we should be watching?

Len Kiefer  29:45  

Well, I mean, I can't believe we've gotten this far in a conversation without hitting on inflation, but that's, you know, that's the one right because we have not experienced the kind of inflation we're seeing currently since the early 1980s. And I think it really affects the size Psychology of the mindset of the potential homebuyer because it really affects your expected cost, right? If you're buying a home, right, that's a long term prospect, if you're not intending to move, you know, you got a mortgage could be 30 years, many people are thinking, right, I'm gonna, I don't like moving. So I got to place I'd like to stay there a long time. Imagine I'm going to stay there, you know, a long time. So it's a long term decision. So you really have to think about what's the economic environment, not just today, but over the top the term and if you get a fixed mortgage, which most the vast majority of homebuyers are getting, then you've locked in an interest rate. And so you have to ask yourself, well, is this a cheap rate or low rate? Right? Were you know, today, around five and a quarter 5.3? Was a you know, when we're recording here on a 30 year fixed? Is that cheap or expensive? Well, depends on what you think inflation is going to look like over the next, you know, three to five to seven years, depending on your horizon, right? If you thought inflation was gonna stay stubbornly high, then that's a pretty cheap, you know, real inflation adjusted mortgage rate. If you thought no inflation is going to come way down, then that's pretty expensive mortgage rate. And I think that is really important. It's going to that psychology is going to drive folks decision and also drives the value of homeownership, right? If you thought inflation was going to be high homeownership is a hedge, not going to see your rents go up, he's locked in a fixed payment, that's really going to affect the psychology. So I think that's a really important, you know, I'm in the camp, that inflation has been sticky, those probably stay a bit sticky, but going to come down over the next couple of years. But it may take a little while, because rents are so sticky. And rents are such a big component of inflation. And so that's gonna affect the psychology. But it really matters doesn't matter what I the economists think it matters what the prospective homebuyers think, here this year, or more importantly, I think next spring, right when they're deciding to list or sell, and who knows exactly where mortgage rates will be at that time, but it'll be really important for driving that behavior.

Mike Simonsen  31:56  

That's, that's really powerful. So the, so you expect sticky inflation, meaning whatever, eight or whatever now, so you can imagine maybe subsiding a little bit in by the end of the year, but but not dramatically.

Len Kiefer  32:15  

Yeah, I mean, it's hard because of all the, you know, gas and oil prices and food and right. But yeah, behind the baseline, because, again, so much of that is just tied up with rent. And a number of economists have just looked at the fact that because of the way rent is measured in the CPI, you know, it's lagging, it doesn't track market rate rents, it's not designed to do that. So that even if market rate rents slow down today, they won't show up in the measurement CPI until next year. And so that's just going to give you a lot of momentum, in headlines, you know, the prints of inflation, we're going to see throughout the rebalance of 2022.

Mike Simonsen  32:50  

Well, I didn't realize it was that much of a lag. So market rents slow today show up in the in the CPI next year, six to

Len Kiefer  33:01  

nine months. So there's been you know, a number of folks, my my, my my friend and mentor who sadly passed away, Frank know, Taft, who was the chief economist at CoreLogic, had done some very interesting work because they have a measure of repeat rents. And you know, one of the last things Frank told me about, I got a chance to talk with him was about, you know, their measure of rents that they had using CoreLogic data that they had, you know, put together and how it led the, you know, the rental rates and measured in the CPI and how he was telling folks about that. And part of his prediction is very convincing argument, I totally buy it, and seeing it borne out in the data.

Mike Simonsen  33:34  

That's fascinating. I had not, I didn't know that. And I can tell you that we measure market rents, we measure asking rents each week, they're not coming down yet, they're still ticking. Like, it's really, that's really fascinating. And so that implies sticky inflation for at least a while until we see that starting to, to shift. That's fascinating. It's also you know, as rates stay elevated, and maybe even climb more, it's one of the factors that I look at and say, you know, investors in a, in a fearing a recessionary economy, maybe thinking about selling homes now adding to inventory. But as rents stay elevated, that motivation is actually diminished, and there's more investor demand, like, because even with money costs more higher, more expensive right now. Like the revenue is pretty good. And that's actually as best as ever been and still go.

Len Kiefer  34:36  

Yeah, I think I think that's really important. That's why I mentioned you know, Freddie Mac's and your multifamily folks, and we talk a lot with our colleagues over there because even if you're talking about single family rental, they, you know, apartment rental market is, you know, adjacent is going to there's going to be some substitutability So you got to kind of track both and be aware of what's happening there. Not just the single family owner market that's going to drive that and when you talk with those folks, you know or other Researchers are looking at the multifamily market, they've been very optimistic about where rent growth would be. Last I heard and was talking with many different analysts, not just a Friday, but in other shops, just feeling given, you know, where the housing supply situation in aggregate, not just, you know, months of the pie for single family, but overall housing availability is still too low given our population. And that's just put enormous pressure. And you see that in rents across the spectrum, single family for you know, houses for rent apartments, and you know, others other structures that are renting it just a very strong rental market

Mike Simonsen  35:32  

That's fascinating. Yeah, for sure. So, so we talked macro, and we talked, we talked a little bit about rent, but but let's talk about the next level down about what you work on in the forecasting. Let's talk about the mortgage markets and mortgage rates. You know, I've always said that I have no ability to predict mortgage rates, you know, I bought my first house in 1996. And, you know, locked in at eight and a half percent, because I thought it was cheap. And I was so locked it in for 30 years, I bought my second house at six and a half percent, and I locked it in for 30 years, I bought my third house at four and a half percent I locked it in. I have no idea. And so, so But and then this year, like you even expected, I expected a year and a half ago that mortgage rates start rising, and then they did and then. And then this year, if starting in January, we expected them to rise, but then they rose way more than I expect. So what do I What should we be looking at? Or the next year of mortgage rates? What what are the variables? Or what's the what's the future look like?

Len Kiefer  36:35  

Gatecrasher? Yeah, okay. And a related anecdote about mortgage rates, because I think, you know, and forecast, you know, my, my team at Friday helps compile our mortgage rate survey, right. And, and one of the things we do, you know, we do forecasting to, and an exercise we do to try to, you know, build humility is just to do a very short term forecast, which is on every Friday, we get together, you know, we have a meeting, we talk about what's been happening in the economy, and we go, okay, what do we think the 30 year mortgage rates going to be in our next week's survey and know, you know, peak and ahead, right, so we start our survey on Monday. So we put that in. And it's a great exercise in humility, you know, because it's very difficult to predict now wisdom of the crowd, we actually on average, kind of get it right, but, but even just that very short term, you know, prediction is very difficult. And if you ask longer term predictions, not many folks have done well at that. So is that I have a lot of humility, when you come into the rates market. Nevertheless, you got to have a view, you know, if you're putting together and you got to think about where you thought was the most likely path for rates, and in that case, you know, probably a lot of the interest rate increase has already happened, right, that the rates have moved up very quickly, in 2022, primarily in anticipation of what would be happening, or what's happening now, over summer, as the Fed is tightening their policy rate, and may continue later into this year. But that's not news to the financial markets, that's kind of baked in and sort of already priced in. And as we alluded to, earlier, in the discussion, they've softened a little bit recently, just as views about the future may have grown a little bit dimmer. And so that suggests to me that probably the best, you know, forecast for REITs is something relatively flat, maybe even down a little off their recent peaks, or, you know, and then gradually weakening a little bit as again, the economy may avoid recession, but definitely grows a bit slower, and inflation starts to get tamed and come down in 2023. And so in that world, if that is indeed how things play out, then you're likely to see the mortgage rates ease a little bit from from where they are now, but not get anywhere near those historic lows that we enjoy, you know, in 2020 and 2021.

Mike Simonsen  38:39  

Yeah, for sure. So, so flat rates, where it's hard to see much higher from you. But you can, it's also hard to see much lower from here.

Len Kiefer  38:50  

Well, you can see it, right. I mean, I, you know, part of this is risk management, right? We have to come up with a lot of scenarios, right? And then, you know, we talked to the folks at risk, man, they're paying, you know, they're thinking, dark scenario, you're an economist, come on, you got to give me dark because I, you know, I need to be prepared for all the things and so yes, we oblige, we can come up with dark scenarios, you can think of things that could happen, that certainly could give you a very adverse situation, but in but in some sense, they require, you know, very unexpected developments. They're not close to a baseline, a shock, something, you know, like COVID that came, you know, that would be unexpected and really move things in order to, to move you in a predictable way. You know, the thing about I think one of the lessons from COVID is a lot of things were very unpredictable about how, you know, the economy would respond. And in retrospect, they seem obvious, but at the time, they were far from obvious how that was gonna play out.

Mike Simonsen  39:40  

Yeah. One of the things in the mortgage market that that I probably under appreciated over the last bunch of years was how much the Fed playing in buying. mortgage securities was impacting rates. And now I think like, this is this is outside my daily study, but it's it sounds like the Fed is now on unwinding some of those positions. Is that true? Is that is? And is that one of the things contributing to higher rates?

Len Kiefer  40:16  

Do I have that that gets tricky? It gets tricky with that, and I'm not the rates expert. So I want to be careful, you know, because then, you know, representing Friday here about speaking, so I'll just be a little measured and say that know, a lot less some of the economics here, you know, it's not completely certain. It's something that folks watch, it's certainly a factor that's moving through and having an impact. But you know, how exactly, it gets pretty technical. And a lot of the, you know, I mentioned not a bond guy, I'm not on the market desk, day to day, and frankly, given how volatile markets have been moving, things have been moving very quickly, there's a lot of anticipation. So I just say, Yes, it certainly have an impact, folks, very smart people across, you know, real experts, you know, not just, you know, industry practitioners, but you know, researchers are also looking at it and it's not 100% clear, there are different estimates for how much the impact will be. But, you know, those are also, like with many academic and other estimates, a wide range, so we don't know,

Mike Simonsen  41:09  

well, maybe I should have a rates person on? Yeah, maybe a bond desk person, let me know, if you if you know, somebody might fit that. Our listeners? Yeah, that'd be really fascinating. Cuz there's, that's, you know, that's not my space. And so there's some real interesting things there. Okay, so that's mortgage market for the future. And so, yeah, we there are scenarios where we could see rates tanking from here, because, because then those would probably be like, big recession or some kind of shock that causes real slowdown. And therefore the the, the rates respond to that. And then they have a little bit as the as the view of the economy next year, kind of weekends, rates have dropped a little bit already. So we could see that. So that fair enough on that scenario. What about your view of the housing market in general? Home prices and transaction volumes?

Len Kiefer  42:08  

Yeah, those are kind of the key, you know, ones that we spend a lot of time especially on the price one from a, you know, Freddie Mac point of view, you know, we're thinking about the collateral. And what, you know, we guarantee mortgage is part of our business model, right is, you know, we take away the credit risk from bond investors, folks who invest in mortgage backed securities, you know, that that credit risk portion of the, you know, the house home loan is guaranteed by Freddie Mac. And so we are all holders of that credit risk. Now, we sell some of that and other financial transactions, but still a critical component for Freddie Mac's businesses, what happens with home prices? Right. But you know, you can't talk about that without talking about transaction volumes as well. If you look at you know, rates are up a lot, two percentage points plus, from a year ago, the biggest year over year increase since really the early 1980s. So a big key question is okay, what does that do to the housing market? One of the challenges from being a macro economist is, you have really small samples, right, we only have one history, you know, we can look at five, you know, seven episodes, but you know, conditions always change. So you have to try your best, you could look at international data, you look at no sub national data to try to tease it out. But it's really hard. But if you look at the limited history that we have, and the sort of best research that's out there, that tends to suggest that what happens when rates move up is that quantities, the transaction volumes, construction, purchase originations, those decline, but prices do not tend to fall, the rate of growth in prices does tend to slow. That's at least been the history. Of course, we've had exceptions that are notable, right? So you don't want to totally tell yourself, that's exactly how it will be. But there's a lot of logic to that. Because in the sense of what's going to trigger folks selling at a significant loss would have to be a forced sale, right? Did they lose their job, and they can no longer make their payment? Do they have to sell into a falling market. And if they're able to keep servicing the mortgage, and they've locked in a low rate, it's hard to see how they would start to sell in a falling market unless, you know, they really, you know, some life events. So I think from a macro perspective, you really got to have that additional layer to really get a pretty significant decline in outright decline in prices. That doesn't mean the rate of growth in prices is not due for a pretty big slowdown. We've been growing at near record highs higher than we were in the mid 2000s. Higher by some measures, then we were in the high inflation period of the late 70s and early 1980s. So the rate of growth of house prices, as very likely should decline, right and normal sort of, you know, balanced economy. And so we should expect to see that. And the question is how rapidly that will happen. Now a lot of momentum in the housing market. And so measured house prices may not pick up that slowdown. They haven't certainly in the most recent data that leads to a lot of the data. Maybe the listing data might show a little bit of that. I'm not sure I'm curious if you have a view of what you've seen on the listings, but at least in terms of transactions, completed close sales, haven't yet seen a lot of evidence there of a slowdown, but we should expect to see the rate of growth and prices pretty materially slow in the late summer and in the fall, I don't know. Is that consistent with what you're seeing in the data? Yeah,

Mike Simonsen  45:15  

for sure, you know, and the leading indicators that we can watch, there's a few of them there is there is we have the ask price to median price of all the homes on the market. But there is a really cool one, that is the median price of the newly listed cohort each week. And that is a wisdom of the crowds thing where it's like those sellers and those listing agents, you know, they know how many like people were shopping. At that last open house, they know how many open betters were were. Now, when we listed a new one, we're like, Ooh, there's no offers down the street, we're gonna price that one down a little bit. And so you get this like wisdom of the crowds thing where it's really, you know, like, you know, exactly where they they know exactly what to price the house to sell it at any given house, maybe over under price, but but they know exactly. So that's one of the leading indicators. And that tends to be about four months before the close transaction house on the market. Now, as it gets listed, now. It's on the market, maybe two days a month, then it gets an offer. And then it takes another month to close or 60 days, and then you start report reporting it out. So like you can see that data now. And it's been actually really robust, still really up until the last latest week. And so the July 4 holiday weekend, a little dip in it, which might be notable, and has been holding up. But there's another leading indicator that we like to track, which is the percentage of homes on the market with price reductions. So normally about a third of homes take a price cut before they sell. And so when demand is ultra high, fewer need to take a price cut. And so the beginning of the year, we were at about normally as 30%. And we had about 15% that needed price cuts, because there were multiple offers and all those things. And now we're back to 30%. And, and the slope is up. So you can really see that anybody is overpriced is taking a cut to get a transaction to and that will close out in the future. So this is pricing signals for transactions that haven't happened yet. And my expectation there is by August, late August, timber will be in the 40% range. And that's going to be really showing some of the cool things. We also can look at year over year changes in inventory. And use that to have a rule of thumb on transaction prices a year out further in the future. So right now we have 31% more homes on the market than we did a year ago. And so that implies to us that were flat home price gains next year like 0%, you know, it's essentially somewhere around zero, no, no price gains over the next year, because the supply is more than it has been like it's it doesn't support the supply demand metric then that that we've had, and that those numbers gauge. So like, those are some of the things we can see in the active data. Right, right now.

Len Kiefer  48:09  

Yeah, I think one thing that's really you know, you know, important and something that we do at Friday, and others are looking at this as try to incorporate as much of those new data series, like you mentioned, into our thinking, the traditional measures are important and helpful. But being able to track things in real time as they evolve in this volatile market is incredibly important. You know, we've been searching for all different kinds of sources looking at similar data that you mentioned, and just tried to parse it and understand it is, you know, because things happening, you know, with such a delay, like the time you see it in the sales, right, it's already, you know, you know, well past when the effects have happened. So yes, I, we really look at a lot of high frequency and interesting data is like the measure you mentioned, I think that's really valuable for anybody who's tracking the market.

Mike Simonsen  48:53  

Yeah. So you're seeing a slower home price growth for the next year. And it's not hard to be slower than the 15% that we've been at. But do you see? So tell me about the likelihood of scenarios that you've looked at that are bigger price cuts, like bigger price adjustments down a lot, a lot of you know, my audience, my listeners, my Twitter followers, YouTube, and those things are very concerned about housing bubble bursting. And then, of course, they'd like to feed you'd like to feed your confirmation bias of like any, any signal I can find that's going to show you know that happening. So so help me feed that confirmation bias for a minute. One of the scenarios where, where we where we might see bigger home price declines in the next year or two.

Len Kiefer  49:51  

Yeah, I mean, I think the fundamental factor you gotta mix in is a very significant slowdown or recession in the economy, right if the unemployment rate is as low or near where it is, you know, under 5%, right and job growth remain solid people's income is there, I don't see the rental market softening and enough to really know start to affect those investors you mentioned, and the investors being a large enough swing, you know, movement in the market to really push the prices. So it's going to take a pretty adverse, I think, economic shock, beyond what we've already digested right, in my view, that we would need to see something else that would kind of trip things up and lead to a pretty, you know, deterioration in income and, you know, employment of homeowners and renters. Right, so to drive the market down. So can't it's not that it can't happen. But that that's I think the key ingredient, you can imagine all the factors that could play into contributing to that kind of a thing. There are too many to list. But that's I think the creaky thing is that if folks have a job can service the debt and have that ability, then you know, I don't see you'll see for selling and that wouldn't be the condition you need for a big slowdown. Now, you could still have a big moderation because we're growing high teens, depending on the measure 17 18%, maybe 20 Other measures, right? You got to slow that down to 10 or eight, you know, you got to get there, that could happen pretty quickly with all the rates. And like we've alluded, maybe some of that's already underway, it just hasn't shown up and all the data. So I think that's where we'll have to really see. But I think, frankly, it's going to since the housing market, so seasonal, we kind of baked this year, I don't think we'll really know until we get to spring, season 2023. I mean, things can happen, right. But I think the real, you know, it's going to be where the market kind of focuses on next spring is where I mean, we'll learn things throughout the rest of this year and into the fall and winter. But we'll really know where we're at, as we look at that listing data for the next spring.

Mike Simonsen  51:47  

Yeah, for sure. I think the same thing that mostly baked in already, you know, this is it's now mid July, we're already past the peak buying season, like the the gains that suffer get baked in. And in fact, I will go more specific than just next spring. I like between the second and third week of January. With that new listings for the price of the new listings cohort, we can watch the slope of that release coming in. And this year, for example, at that time, the slope was real dramatic. And so second, third week of January, into February, watch that. And so what you could see was that demand all the way through now. Right? You can see like people were there, there's so many people buying like, and so it'd be really interesting to see that we could watch that. Also, in 2011. We had what had happened was read ahead, I think it's 20 Let me give my date my years, right, we had in 2009, we had a first time homebuyer tax credit. And, and that went all the way through April one of 2010. And it pulled demand forward 2010 into the first and April of that year. So by the end of 2010, the numbers we're looking at the transaction numbers were looking very soft, and the headlines were all super bearish, Armageddon back to the housing market. And you know, and they were looking at, like the demand at 20, at the end of the year demanded already happened. But by the time those headlines came out, now it's February. And we can already see the price of new listings going up because there's shopping and there's, you know, people in the open homes and, and so we can already see in, you know, February 2011. Like, there's some demand out here. And but all the headlines were still still bearish. And I like to say that my favorite times and in the data are when I get to be contrarian and bullish. And every once in a while we get there, get that, like right at the beginning of the pandemic, when we were still, you know, the kind of metrics folks, we're still using recession to forecast home prices. We're still we're showing like, Oh, we're gonna 2020 one's gonna be a big tank year, it's gonna be down 6%. But meanwhile, we're like, as people are buying houses, and we, you know, it was like, you could really see it. So those are fun times. So that'll be that next, you know, that second third week of January, one of my favorite times to look and see what happened this week. And then we'll watch into February. It'll be it'll be fun to it'll be really interesting to see. That'll be good time.

Len Kiefer  54:27  

No shortage of drama here in the housing market, I think over the last couple of years and ended next sounds like

Mike Simonsen  54:32  

right, it's it's one of my fun things. Like there's always there's always a story that data is always fresh each week. Okay, we're getting close to an hour here. Are there other things in the forecast that you found? Notable are the things that you're like, wow, there's some really interesting trends, maybe that the world isn't talking about yet or, you know, some risks that we are thinking about?

Len Kiefer  54:57  

I think we covered a lot. One of the things that's a little or, you know, it's specific to the mortgage market. But I do think is important to folks who follow that is what's happened, you know, with refinances, we actually in a separate report, we put out a regular, you know, update on on refinance activity now with rates up so much right you'd expect okay refi is going to tank and go back to zero, but not entirely, there's still a decent amount of cash out and some folks who analyse that trying to understand, you know, how long is that going to last? Is that just sort of a, you know, are we seeing the last bits come in before you know, the rates are digested? Or is there something else or homeowners deciding that even with these high interest rates, they're willing to pay that in order to tap their substantial home equity, either to finance, you know, remodel, pay off other debts? I think a lot of folks maybe if they're looking at the tight inventory situation, and where prices are, maybe they just say, well, I won't go out, I'll just take my existing home, you know, I got a lot of equity, I can extract the equity and finance, you know, some improvements there, and I'll make that work. So I think that's a really interesting, dynamic. And, you know, we've never seen rates move this quickly. In the modern, you know, already this century, right? If you go back to the 80s. And it's hard, you know, you can look at the 80s, and try to figure out, but so much was different than is that really what we should expect to happen for home, you know, mortgage owners. And so folks that are tracking the mortgage market, and specifically, you know, refinance or prepayments. That's a really interesting dynamic. And while we've got the forecasts that we've released, we've also do these regular reports, where we're able to look in depth at what's happening with refinance. And I think, for folks, you know, real mortgage, hardcore mortgage nerds or folks that are really focused on that narrow slice, that that research could be very interesting to them, I think that we're you know, we're kind of put out, you know, the next update here, you know, later summer,

Mike Simonsen  56:38  

awesome, I will very much look for that I'm, I'm in that boat, like I have two bathrooms to redo, and, you know, 5% better and put it on the credit card, or like, you know, like, do I sell some stocks now? Like, what, like, what do you do? So, you know, my tech portfolio is, you know, that's all. So like, Well, might as well, you know, so I'm likely to, you know, do some kind of debt financing this year, to, to not, you know, not not burn all my cash on my on my bathroom remodels. It could be that I'm not alone, that's really fascinating. And also, you know, we're, we're finally getting past the super crunch in terms of all the labour and things so like, all of a sudden, contractors are maybe gonna be a little more available, like, or you have some more opportunity to do that work. So that's, that's really fascinating. Okay, so I like that. So Kashia, what happens with refinance and cash out refinances are still happening? And it's so like, Are there products there that that like, keep keep going? And frankly, it's, I mean, five, five and a half percent? It's not that big a deal?

Len Kiefer  57:45  

No, I mean, yeah, for most from a start, especially if a lot of these folks have, you know, a lot of equity and their income is pretty high. And the actual, you know, the amount of equity they're extracting, as a percent write off, folks look at the some of the volume, right, and say, Oh, no, there's all this cash out that we shouldn't be really worried and it's something we should focus on. But if you look at the percent of equity that's getting withdrawn by recent cash out bars, it's still pretty measured. And so yes, bars are taken out, but they're not, you know, not leveraging too extreme amounts. You know, we compare it to it's like 2005, and six, when it was much, much higher percent, people were topping out, and it taken as much as they could get a virus here, it looks a little more measured. And so it's something we look at, you know, regularly to see and understand if there's a risk emerging there or what we make of it.

Mike Simonsen  58:27  

That's so terrific. I really appreciate the time you've taken today. Where should people follow you and connect with you and see your visualizations and all the things? Yeah, great.

Len Kiefer  58:38  

I mean, I love to connect with people on Twitter, Len Kiefer, has my handle there. And then I'm also on LinkedIn, I find a lot of interactions people actually are, you know, surprisingly active there, which is I'm happy to, you know, interact and share a lot of the similar content there. And a lot of that content is, you know, posted on our Freddie Mac corporate website, where we put our research pieces that are put together by myself and the team a lot, a lot of other smart people, a lot of cool stuff, they're often linked to that. So people can find that and if they're interested in, you know, specifics, like our code, I have a personal blog, Lenkiefer.com, they can just go check out and and get snippets of code and copy you know, make make it their own. Try it. See if it works for you happy,

Mike Simonsen  59:15  

you know, connect with me if you got questions, you know, I'm always gonna love to chat up code if people want to talk. Awesome. Yeah, so definitely go follow Len, Twitter, or LinkedIn for the for to see those visualizations and you might notice if you're in the space, and you follow mortgage data and housing data in Twitter or social media, like you, you my guess is you're gonna see some a lens work and you go, Oh, I've seen that before. Like there's some real that's real stuff there. It's really great. So so follow one of those places is the the latest Freddie survey forecast. So we've been talking about is that broadly available for consumers like people that we can link to here and and let them read it?

Len Kiefer  59:59  

Yeah. All of our research is available on Freddiemac.com/research, I believe, yes, that's the URL. So folks can find that it's all available no charge. Now, they can sign up for alerts if they want to. But you know, it's all this there for the public, for people to consume, for them to analyze, and study and see what the latest research and data says.

Mike Simonsen  1:00:17  

Yeah, we'll and we'll include, we'll include a link in the show notes and stuff. So link to Freddie research. Len Kiefer, thank you so much for your time today. Really appreciate you joining us on the Top of Mind podcast. And everybody else. Thank you for joining us. We'll have another one next week. We are you know, we do these podcasts because we talk about the data so much, but there's so many good thinkers and people who have different perspectives, and voices of expertise that we can use to help make better decisions help to communicate with our, with the people who need to know right now home buyers and sellers, people professionals in the industry so, so join us each week for the Top of Mind podcast. Join us at the Altos Research, YouTube channel, or visit altosresearch.com to connect with us, book a free consult with the team to get data for your market for your business, and help your buyers and sellers know what's happening in real estate right now. Thank you everybody.

Outro  1:01:26  

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