First American's Odeta Kushi on the economics of a pandemic

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This week, the Housing News Podcast kicks off Season 4 with HousingWire’s Editor-in-Chief, Sarah wheeler as its new host.

In the first episode of the season, Odeta Kushi, the deputy chief economist at First American Financial Corporation, discusses her economic outlook for 2020, as well as her forecasting approach for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notably, the duo also discusses how low mortgage rates, high unemployment and forbearance requests will impact the housing industry in 2021.

For some background on the interview:

During the interview, Kushi discusses what indicators First American was watching during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they have impacted the overall market.

“We wanted to know what would really impact the housing market, and that is obviously the labor market,” Kushi said. “So, we looked at high frequency data like initial jobless claimsto gauge how badly the pandemic, shelter in placeand the shutdown would impact the labor market. We also analyzed mortgage applicationsto see how demand is being impacted in real time, and then of course, we looked at monthly indicators like homebuilding.”

The economist also discusses what the Federal Reserve’s shift in monetary policy could mean for the housing industry this year and next.

“I think for all fields, this is going to be a huge learning experience, specifically for economics as we'll be able to look back and see the impact of the Federal Reserve stimulus, a lot of which was unprecedented,” Kushi said. “We’ll also be able to play out scenarios and utilize current data as a tool for future economic decline, and I think that will be really helpful.”

The Housing News Podcast is a weekly wrap of the top news stories by HousingWire CEO Clayton Collins. Each week, HousingWire interviews financial services experts who can help make sense of the latest headlines, sponsored by our partners at Freddie Mac.

Here are links to the topics discussed:

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