Bold Profits Daily
September 20, 2019
Hey everyone. This is Ian for Bold Profits and welcome to your weekly Friday video.
There’s more and more recession headlines coming out every week now as we get closer to the new year. There’s going to be more and more coming out. The last quarter of the year is usually the busiest time for this so this is completely expected.
Today I want to talk about the most recent threat, I guess you could call it, that’s making headlines. There was a survey that came out last week that said 53% of U.S. CFOs of publically traded companies believe there is going to be a recession by the 2020 election. This is the highest level of CFOs that believe this in the past three years.
That’s funny because in the past three years since the last pessimistic outlook, which was in 2016 when everyone was really bearish and really pessimistic and there were all kinds of calls for a recession in 2017, since then we’ve had the highest GDP growth since the financial crash. We’ve even outpaced the initial recovery of 2009-2011.
Since then, it’s only gotten better. We expect that to continue to happen. People base their predictions off these arbitrary numbers. This is something Paul and I have noticed recently. People are saying that now that the bull market is 10 years old it’s time for a pullback, like 10 years actually means something.
The inverted yield curve. People are saying now that the 10-year is below the 2-year interest rate that means something. It didn’t mean anything when it was 0.1% above it, but now that it went below it there’s going to be a recession for sure, like it’s a sure thing.
The most recent one we have been seeing has to do with oil. There was a big attack on a Saudi Arabia oil-producing facility last weekend. As a result, oil prices were up 15% Monday. Headlines were pouring out saying this rise in oil prices was going to cause a recession.
The magic number where you have a crystal ball and you know a recession is going to come is if oil goes up 100%. Of course that also has to be in a calendar year, it can’t just be 12 months. So if oil goes up 100%, that automatically means there’s a recession. I saw this number cited in at least five articles.
This is just an arbitrary number. It requires no brain power, no further thinking or looking at anything that has to do with anything. It’s just this one number that’s apparently supposed to signal a recession. So that’s the most recent driver of these recession predictions.
There’s been a number of other things. One of them that I actually found on a legitimate website — I think it was Business Insider or Forbes — cited the number of Google searches of “recession” as an indicator there is going to be a recession. This is where we are.
There’s this index in Europe and it tracks the number of newspaper and media headlines that have recession in them or some buzzword that’s negative about the economy. The higher it is, I guess they are saying the more likely there’s going to be a recession. We’ve gone from focusing on things like production and GDP growth to headlines.
Remember, these are the headlines of the companies that are struggling to stay in business, especially newspapers. I’ve never read a newspaper before. I’m 27 years old and this has been on the decline since I was in middle school. Ever since the internet came out, newspapers have been severely hurting for business.
Cable news is the same way. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, they’ve all seen big drops in their viewership so they have to keep people’s attention. The news channels and newspapers keep people’s attention by putting these scare tactics in their headlines. That’s why there are so many headlines about recessions and economic crashes.
Fear sells. Arbitrary numbers and causing fear in headlines are the two biggest things really driving fear in the market right now. The oil thing is not an issue. We saw that in our market on Monday; it barely went down. I think the S&P was down 0.2%. Markets all over the world were hardly affected. That’s because the U.S. is the number one producer of oil for the first time ever.
We produce almost as much as the number two and three countries — Saudi Arabia and Russia — combined. We have the technology now to turn on the production of oil at any speed we want at any time we want. If there is a shortage, we can just produce more. That’s different from the past.
This is where the critical thinking comes in that people don’t want to do. The price of oil going up 100% in the old days really meant something. Now if the price of oil goes up 100% in a year, which is unlikely anyway, we have the technology we didn’t have before to produce more, cut the shortage and flood the market with more oil.
It doesn’t mean there’s going to be a recession. The markets know that but the headlines are still saying if the price of oil doubles in a calendar year — remember that critical component of this — there will be a recession. It’s all ridiculous at this point.
You could also take the cynical view of this. Saudi Aramco, the $1 trillion dollar company, is the biggest oil-producing company in the world. It’s been trying to go public for two years now at least. They would want a positive market environment to go public, which means higher oil prices.
Higher oil prices mean that the oil companies are valued at a higher price. If oil is $70, ExxonMobil is going to be worth more as a company than if oil was at $40. That is the cynical or conspiracy view to take, but it would raise the value of Saudi Aramco. They’ve been trying to go public a long time.
Of course they want the highest possible valuation, the investment bankers behind the deal want to highest possible valuation. Oil just happened to bounce 15% on Monday. You can take that however you want.
Overall, we don’t see this as a concern. Obviously it’s not good for production in Saudi Arabia, but global production is not going to be affected for any length of time and we saw that in the market’s reaction this week.
For my millennial topic this week I want to talk about how we’re affecting the home-buying industry. I want to start out with this by prefacing some data that came out Monday. The number of building permits created in August were the highest since May 2007. I believe it was about 1.42 million new building permits in just a month. New homes that are starting to be built, called new housing starts, were also at a 12-year high. The highest produced in a month since June 2007.
August was a huge month for the housing industry. Building permits and housing starts are two major leading indicators suggesting that the home-buying market and real estate industry is in full force growth mode. That’s really being driven by millennials. I’ve talked before about how much millennials are obsessed with saving and being able to retire on time.
They’re obsessed with stashing that money away in a 401(K), an IRA, even a savings account. We want to save money, we want to be successful and we want to be prepared for retirement because we saw how bad things could get. As soon as we were in college or graduating college, unemployment spiked and the stock market crashed.
The economy overall crashed and we were in the heart of that. We felt the full extent of it. We saw our parents be affected in how they could retire. A lot of people’s retirement plans got pushed back because of this. So we want to be prepared for anything that could happen in the future, whether that be five, 10 or 15 years down the road.
Of course there’s been high student debt levels recently. As a result, with people wanting to save and be prepared but having these loans, it’s caused people to move out of home later or buy a home later. Over the past few years we’ve seen millennials start to move out of homes or stop renting and start buying.
I did it too. The first couple years after college I lived at home with my parents. Then I went and lived in an apartment for a year. That’s relatively short. A lot of millennials are doing that for more than three years. They are renting, finding a cheap apartment and stashing their money away to buy a house.
In the meantime, they’ve been paying off student loans. So the home-buying process just gets pushed back further and further. Now we’re finally starting to see millennials buy homes. This also means we don’t need the same kinds of starter homes people needed before.
Obviously when you’re 30 and buying a home for the first time, you have more money saved and making more money per year than people used to when they were 20 or 22 and buying a new home for the first time. Starter homes are getting better and that’s what’s driving all these new home sales.
We want nicer homes and we can afford nicer homes than previous generations. A lot of homes on the market right now are outdated. We want new things and we can afford them. Millennials right now are making a lot of money. They are saving at a fast rate and they can afford these new homes.
The target market for new home sales right now is millennials. About 60% or more of every other generation — Gen X, silent generation, Baby Boomers — currently own a house. Millennials are all the way down at 37%, that’s after a 5% increase in the past three years. Five percent might not seem like a lot, but that accounts for about four million millennials.
Just in the past three years alone, four million millennials have bought a house for the first time. It’s been a huge wave. There was this big report out from Zillow that I’m going to cite a couple times. One of the things they said is that 86% of younger millennials and 52% of older millennials who bought a house since 2015 were first-time homebuyers. We’re seeing this grow extremely fast.
Almost all millennials who buy a house right now are buying a house for the first time. Like I said, we’re still only at 37% so this is going to last a long time. We have more people than any other generation in this market. There’s so much room to grow. The real estate market is poised to grow extremely faster over the next generation.
Gen Z is not far behind and they’re expected to outnumber millennials within just a couple years. This is a generational trend that could last for 30 or 40 years as millennials and Gen Z start to enter the home-buying market.
Another thing this report said was the median age of someone buying a house right now is 36 years old. That extremely young. Even if you look at every homebuyer, not even just first-time homebuyers, it’s a young crowd. It’s a young group of people and it’s a lot of new homes being built just in the past couple of years.
Like I said, starter homes are getting nicer and nicer because we’re moving out later, we have more money saved and we’re making more money. It’s a good all-around scenario right now that’s playing out for the home-building industry. Construction, real estate and all these things are linked. It’s something that’s going to continue for a long time.
Something that’s also related to that is that the median first-time homebuyer is only 34 years old. So there’s not even a big difference between the median age of all homebuyers and the median age of first-time homebuyers, which shows there’s a younger crowd driving the demand for homes are mostly first-time homebuyers.
There’s about 45 million Americans under 35 years old. The rate of homeownership for 35 and younger was 43% back in 2004 before the real estate crash. Now it has dipped a lot. It could go back up to 43% really fast and 45 million Americans between 23 and 34 years old is a big crowd to push this up.
Like I said, this is a generational boom of the home-building market and the real estate industry. It’s a driver of the economy. It’s one of the main reasons we don’t see a recession happening anytime soon. Not just because we’re buying homes but, more fundamentally, because we can buy homes.
We’re in a strong economy, we’re making money much faster than the rate of inflation, we’re saving more money. Millennials on average have saved half of what Gen X had saved and there’s a 20-year gap. In 20 years we are going to be way ahead of any generation before us in terms of saving for retirement.
That’s going to drive home growth too because we’re going to be able to afford even nicer houses going forward. Gen Z is going to be buying homes within the next five or 10 years and there’s going to be a ripple effect that continues throughout millennials and Gen Z demand for homes.
Also, just the way that the economy is boosting our savings and our spending. As I’ve mentioned before, the consumer spending drives about two-third of our economic growth. As we make more, we’re not just buying new houses but the fact we’re buying new houses also suggests we have money to spend on other things too.
We’ve seen the highest consumer sentiment since the 90s recently. Things are overall looking very good. I got off a little from the home-buying industry but I want to recommend a way you can invest in it. It’s a home-building ETF. It has all these great companies in it — dozens of home-building companies and construction companies. It’s a really good time to buy in.
It’s the iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (BATS: ITB). I want to give that as the takeaway this week. This trend is going on to go on for 10, 20, even 30 years out, maybe even more than that. It’s going to be a generational thing. We’re going to see the homeownership level for millennials and Gen Z start to go up a lot.
That’s all I have for this week. This is Ian Dyer for Bold Profits. Happy Friday and have a great weekend.