From a topical perspective, Opendoor Technologies (NASDAQ:OPEN), despite an overall challenging economic environment, offers investors reason to believe in OPEN stock.
Yes, inflation in the housing market seems well overstretched, possibly due for a correction, but then, data is king. The data shows that housing prices in the U.S. keep moving northbound.
At first glance, the concept seems preposterous. Back in 2016,
Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post had this to say: “Across all age groups, the U.S. homeownership rate — at 62.9 percent — has now fallen to its lowest level in more than five decades. Among younger Americans only, things look especially paltry.” And what was the reason for this subterranean homeownership rate?
In part, as the Pew Research Center explained in February 2019, millennials generated less wealth and frequently carried more debt and at higher levels of liability than prior generations within the same age milestones.
On top of that, younger people are delaying family founding or are outright not getting married at all. Such factors don’t pressure homeownership, which theoretically hurts OPEN stock.
Suddenly, the coronavirus happened, initially devastating the economy. Eventually, as of this moment, Covid-19 killed 800,000 Americans, per Fox News. Again, in theory, this should hurt OPEN stock.
However, according to Realtor.com, some millennials have been able to take advantage of low interest rates and save more for a down payment “because they’re not spending as much going out,” per economist Danielle Hale.
Imagine, the coronavirus helped mitigate millennial money woes! If that’s the case, why the anger at China?
More important, though, the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, incentivizing a mad rush.
OPEN Stock Has Open Wounds in Its Narrative
To be fair, higher rates equate to higher borrowing costs, which wouldn’t be appealing, especially for first-time homebuyers. However, if people were desperate to buy in 2021, they’ll presumably be more desperate to buy in 2022.
Undoubtedly, real estate brokers will argue that prices won’t collapse like they did during the 2000s because mortgage holders today are much more financially secure.
So you’ll see OPEN stock swing higher as people rush to secure historically low rates. But did the coronavirus really help millennials bolster their finances?
I doubt it. First, a catastrophic event like the coronavirus raises entropy in a low-entropy system. It’s utterly absurd to think the opposite is true. Imagine if a tornado manufactured homes instead of ripping them to shreds. Well, that’s the equivalent of saying the pandemic was helpful to previously struggling millennials.
Second, if skimping on pancakes at IHOP is the demarcation line between millennials being homeowners or not, I never want to hear the phrase “ok boomer” again. It’s terrible to blame an age cohort for one member’s own stupidity.
Of course, pancake consumption is not what’s hurting millennials. Instead, the data about millennials pre-pandemic remains accurate post-pandemic. True, some in this demo have done very well — there are always exceptions, but despair is generally rising. Moreover, the pandemic didn’t create the ultimate incentive of housing demand: starting a family.
Per Scientific American, Covid-19 caused a baby bust, not a boom.
If you needed extra evidence that chaos does not lower entropy in a system, look at the retained earnings (RE) undergirding OPEN stock.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, RE was a loss of $1.1 billion. In Q3 2021, RE sank to a loss of $1.5 billion. If millennials are bolstering home sales, RE is moving in the wrong direction.
Do Your Due Diligence
Pound for pound, this article may have the most hyperlinks to research items than any other story I’ve written. That’s for a reason. Since I don’t own OPEN stock, nor do I have direct real-estate equities, I don’t have skin in this game. I’m just looking at data and that’s ultimately what I want for you to get out of this piece.
Perform your due diligence. If millennials were on shaky ground before the pandemic, would a chaotic event lower (improve) financial entropy? I believe reasonable people would have doubts about that.
So then, who’s driving up these homes? The data points to baby boomers, which isn’t helpful for the technology-backed OPEN stock. In addition, their older age means that this demographic is not a reliable nor sustainable catalyst for elevated housing prices.
Therefore, if OPEN stock does pop higher for some strange reason, it might be a temporary lift. Longer-term, I’d be very careful about putting too much at stake here. But again, please do your own research before proceeding.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.