U.S. Housing Market Poised to Drive Up Inflation? By Ayushman Mukherjee and Erik Norland

The U.S. consumer price index (CPI) has jumped to its highest annual rate since 2008, yet the housing components of the index (rent and owners’ equivalent rent) have decelerated considerably since the start of the pandemic (Figure 1). For the first time in nearly a decade, housing costs have risen more slowly than the overall CPI. While the headline inflation rate currently stands at 5.4%, the CPI for shelter (which includes rental payments and mortgages) has increased only 2.6% year on year. This is despite the housing market experiencing its broadest boom in at least two decades, with median sales prices reaching record highs in both real and nominal terms (Figure 2).

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