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October 27th, 2008

Falling Prices: Playing the Waiting Game



The recent reprieve in gas prices have gotten a lot of people thinking “why haven’t other prices dropped as well?” Well, there are a couple of answers, none of which will offer any immediate satisfaction. When it comes to falling prices, a key word is “waiting.”

As we’ve mentioned before on this blog, prices seem to rise faster then they fall. While it seems a price increase can be felt overnight, a decrease might take months. Everyone from farmers to airlines purchase commodities in the features market. They may lock in a price and agree to pay that price for a given set of time; for example farmers may sign contracts to purchase fertilizer (which has been extremely expensive) well into next year.

Another key word in the waiting game of falling prices is “fear.” When fuel costs rose, manufacturers and distributors were forced to raise costs. Although oil prices have fallen more than 50% since July, fear that prices will once again rise have kept the cost of doing business high.

Products like produce that can be cultivated and shipped in the short term are likely to see their prices drop first, rather than products with a longer curve of production. For products with reduced consumer demand, such as automobiles and homes, their prices have been dropping; consumers may be waiting for them to fall some more before buying.

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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