The chief economist at Redfin, Fairweather is a knowledgeable behavioral economist who received her bachelor’s in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. She is also the granddaughter of Norma Merrick Sklarek, the first Black woman to become a licensed architect in New York and California.
With homebuying being unattainable for many Americans and the recent interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve to tamp down inflation causing mortgage rates to now average 6.29 percent, Fairweather has been offering insight into how to best navigate the market.
“This is the sharpest turn in the housing market since the housing market crash in 2008,” Fairweather told Fox Business. “We haven’t seen interest rates this high since 2008, 2007, so it is a big change from the housing market we’ve all gotten used to.”
In a May interview with The Breakfast Club, she discussed the housing crisis and offered her thoughts on the best way to address it.
“I would say from an affordability standpoint, Freddie Mac estimates that we’re 4 million housing units short, and it’s going to take so long to build out of that,” Fairweather said in response to one of host Angela Yee’s questions.
“Millennials are the biggest generation and they’re looking for their own place. They’re not living with their parents anymore and we just didn’t build any homes for them,” Fairweather continued. “It really is tragic for millennials and Gen Z that we just didn’t prepare for this moment.”
Fairweather said believing buying a fixer-upper is a more affordable option is “risky” due to the skyrocketing costs of labor and materials.
“We really just need to build more and it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. We should’ve been doing this for the last decade,” Fairweather said. “We need to prioritize this as a whole country, building more, and that means reforming zoning so we have more multi-family housing instead of just single-family homes … and if we don’t do that, it’s just going to be impossible.
Also a general partner at DITEC Ventures, Fairweather joined Redfin in 2018 after serving as a senior behavioral economist at Amazon.
“The housing market is a perfect example of how psychology affects the economy,” Fairweather said when Redfin announced her hiring. “For most of us, buying a home is the biggest financial decision we’ll make in our lifetime, and yet traditionally, homebuyers have little experience and limited education on the process or the market.”
“Emotions play a large role in real estate. I’m excited to use Redfin’s unique data to understand these dynamics and ultimately educate consumers so they can feel confident and informed in their decisions,” Fairweather concluded.