EXCLUSIVE: Interest Rates Rode The Elevator Up, But Analyst Predicts They'll Take 'The Stairs Coming Down'

Zinger Key Points
  • Interest rates to descend gradually, savers and borrowers must navigate cautiously.
  • Real estate market faces high prices, limited inventory despite mortgage rate falls.

Interest rates are on everyone’s radar, but what’s the game plan amid the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold steady for now?

Benzinga interviewed Greg McBride, CFA, Senior Vice President of Bankrate, for his exclusive insights on the current state of the economy and his expectations with the future.

Related: Federal Reserve Pushes Stocks To Record Highs As Rate Cuts Loom, Nvidia Rallies, Apple Faces Legal Woes: This Week In The Markets

Interest Rates May Take The Stairs Coming Down

McBride offered some very actionable insights. In response to a question about the Fed keeping interest rates unchanged this time, McBride said, “Interest rates took the elevator going up, but they're going to take the stairs coming down.”

Per McBride, savers can capitalize on potentially lucrative returns that outpace inflation, from savings accounts, money markets, and CDs, provided they shop around for optimal deals. For borrowers, the mantra remains clear: prioritize slashing high-cost credit card debt.

His advice? “Always make at least your minimum payment on time – you can always pay more later.” It’s about dodging those pesky overdraft fees and late charges.

Real Estate Enthusiasts, Brace Yourselves

McBride’s forecast suggests a seller’s market, with limited inventory dictating terms. And falling mortgage rates? They might not spell relief as home prices continue their upward trajectory. “The housing market will continue to be characterized by high home prices, high financing costs, and a limited number of homes for sale,” said McBride.

This should be good news for those invested in the Vanguard Real Estate ETF VNQ, the Schwab US REIT ETF SCHH, the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR ETF XLRE or the iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF IYR. Rising home prices often reflect a healthy real estate market, which can boost the value of real estate assets held within these ETFs.

Investors in mortgage ETFs such as the iShares MBS ETF MBB and the Vanguard Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF VMBS may see a mixed impact.

Rising home prices can increase the value of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) held within mortgage ETFs. This appreciation can lead to higher returns for investors holding these ETFs. However, higher home prices also make it more challenging for potential homebuyers to afford properties and/or to refinance their existing mortgages, potentially leading to decreased demand for mortgages.

Also Read: 10 Real Estate Stocks Move On Thursday: Fed Rate Cut Possibility Sparks Rally For Troubled Sector


Legislative Acts May Sway Sentiment, Let Diversified ETFs Steer Your Ship

When questioned on legislative juggernauts like the CHIPS Act and Infrastructure Act that promise economic shifts, McBride’s advice is refreshingly pragmatic: “Investors are best served building a low-cost, well-diversified portfolio.” Forget chasing fleeting trends; it’s consistency that builds wealth, he says.

Exchange-traded funds are a low-cost, diversified way to gain exposure and build wealth consistently. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY, the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF IVV and the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF VOO are the most popular and largest ETFs for U.S. equity exposure.

When asked about legislative acts impacting consumer sentiment and spending behavior, McBride said, “When Americans have jobs and paychecks coming in, the money gets spent.” Legislative acts may sway sentiment, but economic fundamentals steer the ship.

Read Next: Value, Growth Stocks Trade At Record Highs But Long-Term Leadership Lies With One: Analyst

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