Although indicators have been mixed, one is especially important: mortgage applications. That data point alone is like a consumer "buy-or-sell" barometer. When mortgage rates spike higher or swoon lower, it's the mortgage applications number that tells us where the demand is.
When rates go higher, demand would normally drop. At times, the drop may mean very little. But when mortgage rates rip higher like they have now, by over 100 basis points, the market has spoken. Rates are too high, and few potential homeowners are chasing the ship, so to say, before rates go higher yet again, like many "experts" had previously thought.
So how does this affect automakers? Well, the boost in auto sales lagged the housing market, before really playing catch up in the spring of this year. I'd expect for it to be the same coming down -- assuming the housing market fails to regain its upward momentum.
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