Property, the great inflation hedge?: Navigating real estate in a changing economic landscape
For generations, real estate has provided one of the sturdiest bulwarks against money inflation, whether in stagflationary slumps or price-surging boom times. In general, in the United States, over most periods, property has outperformed inflation while throwing off income along the way.
Yet, as the 2020s unfold, a four-decade-long epoch of sinking interest rates but steady population growth has likely ended, and perhaps will be replaced by a subsequent era of higher rates and population stabilization, or slow expansion.
For more than 40 years, from near 1980 to a little after 2022, interest rates in the United States were in secular decline, with the federal funds rate topping at just more than 19 percent in 1981, and falling to nearly zero in 2021, with some undulations in between. To state the obvious, low mortgage rates help investors buy property, and lower cap rates raise relative property values.
Also, from 1980 to 2020, the U.S. population grew by nearly