abstract of dollar signs rising on blue background (Photo: Shutterstock)

The U.S. economy has gone through a dramatic shift over the last four decades and one trend stands out above the rest, a strong and steady decline in interest rates. The 10-year Treasury yield went from over 15% in 1981 to an all-time low of .52% in August of 2020 (see chart below). Over the same period, the federal funds rate has fallen from 20% to nearly zero and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped from over 18% to below 3%.

Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Rate [DGS10], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DGS10, March 29, 2021.
As we sit here today, the S&P 500 is trading near all-time highs and the median home price in the U.S. is the highest it has ever been. This might be hard to believe when we look back to March 23, 2020 when the S&P 500 had just dropped almost 34% in 30 days. But with the economic uncertainty that resulted  from the COVID-19 pandemic came record stimulus from the U.S. Government and Federal Reserve, including significant bond purchases. This pushed up bond prices, leading to a significant decline in interest rates.

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