Master Builder

Summer 2022

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A fter living through the uncertainty of the past two years, it's no wonder over 150 MBAKS members, elected officials, and other housing stakeholders logged on bright and early on February 17 to attend the virtual Economic Forecast Breakfast. Presented by HomeStreet Bank, the (bring- your-own) breakfast delivered valuable insights into what 2022 has in store. MBAKS Interim Executive Director Jerry Hall and 2022 President Cameron McKinnon kicked things off by highlighting the association's 2021 accomplishments, thanking sponsors, and setting the stage for keynote Elliot Graphs and Laughs Insight from the 2022 Economic Forecast Breakfast BY ANDREW ADAMS MARKETING SPECIALIST MBAKS Eisenberg, Ph.D., aka the Bowtie Economist. As the name of his company, GraphsandLaughs, suggests, Eisenberg kept his presentation fun without sacrificing substance, engaging the audience with wryly memorable hypotheticals. He led with the good news: "We have a high-growth economy. It's going well." But on the flip side, "inflation is the price we pay." And that price is the highest it's been since February 1982, with an inflation rate pushing eight percent. Along with a hot economy, supply chain issues are another major factor contributing to inflation. While Eisenberg couldn't promise immediate improvement, "the supply chain problems don't get worse from here … they've bottomed out." Eisenberg suggested that homebuilders' rational response to inflation is raising prices, though he acknowledged that these increases reinforce inflation. Zooming in on housing, Dr. Eisenberg painted a stark picture of how radically COVID redefined the home's role in most people's lives. "A house wasn't the place where you slept. It was the place where you lived, worked, went to school ... a house was suddenly worth a lot more." As demand for homes has increased, supply hasn't come close to keeping up. Inventory is at a 20-year low and seems poised to continue shrinking, leading to major price increases. "An entry-level home in Seattle is what, $9 million, right?" Eisenberg quipped. Homebuilders struggle to obtain supplies, but homes they manage to build are virtually guaranteed to sell, and quickly. As of January, the NAHB Housing Market Index, based on a member survey designed to take the pulse of the single- The supply chain problems don't get worse from here … they've bottomed out. DR. ELLIOT EISENBERG The Bowtie Economist 52 master BUILDER | SUMMER 2022 MEMBERSHIP VALUE

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