Is The Economy Headed For Recession?

Talking heads gonna talk. We are definitely, 100% not headed for recession. Oh, and we are for certain, without a doubt barreling headlong into a recession. Which answer you get depends largely on which channel you turn to or which podcast you listen to.


Who’s right? Does anyone have a clear crystal ball? The short answer is “no.” Everyone tries to predict the future, and at least half of them reliably look like an idiot this time next year.


Let’s run the checklist and see what signs tell us we’re in a recession — and which ones tell us we’re not.

Signs We Are Headed For Recession

Two Consecutive Quarters of Economic Contraction

Some experts insist that “recession” has an official, concrete definition — two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction. The economy contracted in Q1 and Q2 of this year, so by that definition, a recession technically already happened. 

Inverted Yield Curve

The yield curve between the ten-year treasury bond and the two-year treasury bond is currently inverted. This is one of the most famous “canaries in the coal mine” for a recession. 


A yield curve calculates the difference in yield between a long-term bond and a short-term bond. Want to know where we are on the most popular yield curve? Subtract the current yield on the two-year treasury from the current yield on the ten-year treasury.


When the yield curve is at a positive value, it means that short-term bonds have lower yields than long-term bonds. This is how it’s supposed to be. But if the yield curve is inverted — that is, its value is a negative number — it means that short-term bonds have higher yields than long-term bonds, meaning investors are skeptical about the short-term economy and moving money into long-term investments.


What does all this mean? Rare inversions of the yield curve have frequently preceded famous recessions. This is not a perfect indicator. In the late 1960s the yield curve inverted twice, but no recession followed. The yield curve inverted in late 2019, and the COVID recession followed … but there was no way an unprecedented global shutdown could have been priced into those bond yields. That would have been real magic.


As we have discussed many times (including last week), inflation is higher than it has been in many decades. If this keeps going, Americans can expect to have to tighten their belts and buy less stuff, slowing down the economy. The Fed is fighting inflation with higher interest rates … but ironically that could cause a recession too by suppressing demand.

Signs We Aren’t Headed For Recession

Q3 Economic Growth

While the economy contracted in Q1 and Q2, GDP grew in Q3. So if we’re adhering to the strict definition of “recession” from above, technically the recession already came and went. 

Record Corporate Profits

Corporate profits grew 6.2% in Q1 and another 2.6% in Q2. Q3 earnings have been a mixed bag, but we’re still in positive territory.

Low Unemployment

According to economists, the US has a “natural” permanent unemployment rate of 4.4%. Above that indicates economic weakness; below indicates economic strength. Well, the unemployment rate is 3.5%, well below the “natural” rate. This doesn’t account for the toll inflation may take on the buying power of those wages.

What Does It All Mean … And What Should You Do?

No two recessions are alike, and hindsight is always 20/20. We could be heading into a recession; or we could be headed for recovery. A year from now, half of the talking heads are going to look pretty stupid.


If you’re wondering what to do to grow your wealth in such uncertain times, the best strategy is to target real estate in strong markets. Real estate enjoys the benefit of being highly localized. Strong local economies tend to grow even when the US economy struggles as a whole. 


Don’t believe me? Cities that grew during the Great Recession included Oklahoma City, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Seattle, Charlotte, Raleigh, San Jose, and Salt Lake City. If you were invested heavily in those cities’ housing markets back in 2006, you would have probably come out of the Great Recession nearly unscathed.


So which housing markets are going to do fine in the next recession, when and if it ever materializes? MartelTurnkey has crunched the data and identified our winners … and we’re putting our money where our mouth is, buying up property there like it’s going out of style.


If you want to continue growing your wealth, recession or no, reach out to us today to find out where we’re investing … and how you can get in on the action with us!

If you like this article you may be interested in the article on how inflation is impacting your purchasing power.

The Price of a Cup Of Coffee: Why Investing is Critical

investing coffee analogy

This popular blog from last year bears repeating. Please enjoy again, preferably with a cup of coffee in hand. 


We’ve talked in the past about the importance of investing in real estate to protect your wealth from inflation. Considering the ever-rising rates of inflation, we’ve simplified the perils of inflation using a simple metaphor — the rising price of a cup of coffee and how it relates to real estate investing.

How Inflation Erodes Purchasing Power

Let’s say the average cost of a cup of coffee at Starbucks is $5. If inflation averages 8% over the next 2 years, two years from now, that same cup of coffee will cost $5.83. 


Boo hoo, right? Maybe you’ll have gotten a raise, or tightened your belt, or won the lottery, or moved to South America, and you’ve been meaning to cut back on caffeine anyway. Why worry?


Let’s apply the cup of coffee metaphor to your wealth and net worth… 


You have $25,000. How many cups of coffee can you afford today? 5,000 cups of coffee at $5 a cup.


Let’s say you decide to keep that $25,000 in the bank, how many cups of coffee can you afford two years from now? Only 4,288 cups of coffee. 712 fewer cups of coffee in 2 years! The same amount of money buys less coffee. Effectively, you’re a lot poorer than you were two years ago. The solution and your goal should be to invest your money to outpace inflation.

Chasing After Yield

Let’s say you invest in a security that has a 9% yield, which is an average stock market return. In two years, your $25,000 is worth $29,700.


How many cups of coffee can you buy then? You have enough for 5,094 coffees at $5.83 a cup. The challenge here is to consistently achieve high returns. Can you achieve 9% return on your investment every year? 

The Power of Real Estate

Here’s the amazing thing about real estate investing in times of inflation — it causes asset values to increase, but it causes the value of debt to decrease. After all, that debt is measured in dollars, which has lost purchasing power at a rate of 8% per year!


Let’s say you use your $25,000 to purchase a real estate rental property worth $100,000. You pay $5,000 in closing costs, put $20,000 as down payment, and get a $80,000 mortgage. 


If this property appreciates at a modest 2% a year, your property is worth $104,000 two years from now. During that same period the property was rented out. The rent you collected paid for your mortgage, taxes, insurance and property management fees, AND over 2 years, you generated $6,000 in positive cash flow. On top of that, the rent also reduced the amount of your loan to $78,500 (you paid down $1,500.)


Now, how much is your investment worth? At the end of two years your $25,000 investment is worth $32,500.


How many Starbucks can you afford now? Over 5,574! 480 more cups of caffeine than the stock market investment. In a very short two year period, you increased your purchasing power significantly, whereas in the first two examples (stashing cash and a 9% stock market investment) you either lost purchasing power or barely maintained it by taking significant risks.


And guess what — it gets even more excitingly dramatic as you increase the investment period. The most positive results are possible through appreciation and leverage.




If you know it’s time to get serious about inflation, reach out to MartelTurnkey today. We have cash-flowing, renovated homes  with tenants in place, available for investors. Protect your wealth the wise way. And as a bonus, our cash flow spreadsheets, which are easily downloadable for every property, include 10-year projections.

Expenses of Running a Rental Property — a Cheat Sheet

Rental Property Expenses Cheat Sheet

Many people make big mistakes when they try to determine the cash flow potential of a rental property. Basically, they think that if the market rent for the house is higher than the mortgage, they’re in the money.


It’s not that easy. If it were, anybody could do it. Lots of houses can be purchased with a mortgage payment lower than the market rent.


But as any homeowner can tell you, the expenses don’t stop at the mortgage. If you want positive cash flow for your rental property, your rental collection needs to cover all expenses.


Here’s a cheat sheet of expenses to make sure to account for when doing your cash flow analysis for a prospective rental property:

Mortgage Payment

First and foremost, you need to know your monthly mortgage payment. This is usually where people start, but the expense rabbit hole goes much deeper. 

Property Taxes

Property taxes to the county are mandatory; otherwise, the county can foreclose on your property, just like your lender. Property taxes are usually due once or twice a year, but your lender may require you to pay monthly into an “escrow” account to make sure there are funds available to pay those property taxes.


Property insurance is usually required by a lender so a fire doesn’t destroy the collateral — at least not without an insurance policy to claim against it. 


If the property is in a FEMA-designated flood-risk zone, the lender may require flood insurance, as certain flood damage is not covered by homeowner’s insurance. 


Landlords may also want to consider liability insurance, which will protect them in the event of a lawsuit filed by a tenant. The lender may require payments into the escrow fund to cover insurance as well.

Fees and Assessments

Property taxes may not be the only assessment against your property. Condo association or homeowner’s association fees are common offenders. Yes, your HOA can foreclose on you if you don’t pay your HOA fees! The lender may require you to fund HOA fees in your escrow account too — they really don’t want someone else foreclosing your property before they can.


As the landlord, you are sometimes responsible for some utilities, like water, electricity, or gas. You may be able to bill these back to the tenant for extra income.

Repairs and Maintenance

Maintenance of the property falls to the owner, not the tenant. Maintenance emergencies can arise out of nowhere and be very costly in terms of contractor costs, handyman costs, and replacement of major appliances like a refrigerator or HVAC. Smart landlords don’t pocket every dollar of excess rent — they usually pay some or even most of it into a “maintenance fund” to cover any big expenses that may arise. 

Contract Services

Contract services are recurring maintenance services that might include gardening and landscaping, trash collection, pest control, and routine maintenance (changing air filters, flushing water heaters, etc.)

Professional Services

Professional services might include tax preparation and legal fees. Legal fees could include contract review, litigation costs, and eviction fees.  

Property Management

If you decide to hire a property manager to free yourself from operational responsibility for the property, you will usually need to pay that manager a percentage of the gross rents collected. Current rates are typically 8% -10% of the gross rents.


Vacancy Expense

Few rental properties can maintain 100% occupancy at all times. With proper management you can get close, but it’s usually wise to factor in at least some vacancy expense — time when your property is vacant and not collecting any rent. Cities usually have a prevailing market vacancy rate which you can use to be conservative, but somewhere between 5% and 10% of the gross rent potential is standard.




If you calculate all relevant expenses and come out with a number that is less than the gross rent potential, congratulations! You have identified a property with strong potential for positive cash flow, all the while appreciating in value.


Having trouble estimating expenses? Martel Turnkey can help! We have extensive experience making accurate calculations of real estate expenses. Every property in our inventory includes detailed expense projections, which we can back up with evidence. Want to do cash flow analysis the easy way? Reach out to us — we’re glad to help!

The Fed is Raising Interest Rates … What Now for the Real Estate Market?

We’ve enjoyed bottom-of-the-barrel interest rates for years, but that may be about to change. The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by a quarter-point last month, and we expect that to be the first of at least three interest rate hikes to happen this year.


So is the party coming to an end? What will happen to the real estate market — for homeowners and investors — in an environment of rising interest rates?

What Happens When the Fed Raises Interest Rates?

First things first, the Fed doesn’t dictate what interest rate your bank can charge you for a mortgage. That’s not the interest rate they control. 


What they do control is the Federal Funds Rate, the rate at which FDIC-insured banks are allowed to lend money to each other. 


Does this affect the interest rates you pay on your mortgage, car loan, or credit card? It can, but it’s not guaranteed. 

Why Does the Fed Raise Interest Rates?

The Fed may not directly control the interest rates banks pay, but by making it more expensive for them to lend, they are hoping that these interest rates trickle down to consumers in the form of higher interest rates on consumer loans, credit cards, and other loans. 


Why? Why raise interest rates at all? Don’t we have enough to worry about in terms of rising costs? Are the Fed just committed to being killjoys and party poopers?


Raising the Federal Funds Rate is one of several tools the Fed uses to try and control the supply of money in the economy. If it’s more expensive to lend to each other, banks will likely flood the economy with less financing. If money becomes scarce, it will become more valuable — which means it acts as a counterweight to inflation.


Considering inflation has tipped the scales at nearly 8% over the past year, you can see why the Fed would want to take this kind of action. Paying a little more interest may not be fun, but compare that to the recent increases to the price of gas and food, costing the average household over $5,200 extra out of pocket compared to last year.

What Will Happen to the Real Estate Market Now?

So if our historically low interest rate market is coming to an end, what’s next for real estate markets?


Actually, the real estate market has done relatively well in environments of rising interest rates, like those we experienced from 2004-2006, as well as 2018. Both of those eras experienced hot real estate markets.


The interest rate you pay for a mortgage has less to do with the Federal Funds Rate, and more to do with the demand for mortgage bonds — big bundles of mortgages that banks package together and then sell as an investment. If the demand for these bonds is high, it puts downward pressure on mortgage interest rates.


Right now, mortgage bonds are being bought up en masse by the Fed, of all things. Since the pandemic, the Fed has bought over $40 billion worth of mortgage bonds per month in an effort to keep the housing market hot.


Ultimately, the real estate market responds to the laws of supply and demand. Inflation and foreign conflicts have made the demand for US real estate high, while the demand for mortgage bonds is likely to slow any coming increases in mortgage rates.




If you want to take advantage of historically low interest rates while they last, Martel Turnkey can help you act fast by putting the right investment property in front of you — rehabbed, rented, and ready to buy.  Lock in for now for 30 years and you will be glad you made this decision.