October 26, 2022

Happy Wednesday: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 463 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Interest shock hits homebuyers

Data: Mortgage Bankers Association; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Mortgage Bankers Association; Chart: Axios Visuals

Even as the price of housing is starting to decline, the cost of housing is still hitting new highs, Axios Markets co-author Felix Salmon reports.

  • For example: Someone buying a median-priced home in September rather than June would pay 5.1% less for their house, but would face monthly mortgage payments almost 10% higher.

Zoom out: U.S. home prices have fallen by 2.4% in just the two months from June to August.

  • But they're still up 42.2% since the pandemic hit.

💸 Not even cash buyers are enjoying the new world: The opportunity cost of paying $427,000 in cash for a median-priced home versus parking it in a money-market fund paying 3% interest is almost $13,000 a year.

2. National security risks nationwide

State and local government transactions involving Chinese tech
Data: CSET; Note: Tech transactions refer to information and communications technologies and services from foreign companies that U.S. entities and federal agencies are prohibited from buying; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios Visuals

State and local governments bought Chinese telecom products despite warnings about national security risks, Axios' Han Chen reports.

  • Federal agencies have been banned since 2018 from procuring products from Chinese tech companies Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision, Dahua and Hytera.
  • Those bans don't apply to states, according to a report published today by Georgetown University's Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

Between the lines: Chinese telecom equipment is generally less expensive than gear from non-Chinese companies, making it an appealing procurement option for cash-strapped local U.S. agencies.

  • Local agencies often lack the in-house technical expertise and procedures to understand and address threats posed by foreign tech.

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3. Catch up quick

A destroyed electrical pylon blocks a street today in the recently recaptured Ukrainian village of Yampil in eastern Ukraine. Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images
  1. Ukraine is concerned about recent threats by senior U.S. Republican lawmakers to cut aid to Ukraine if they win control of the House in next month's midterms, its foreign minister told Axios from Tel Aviv author Barak Ravid.
  2. A jury found Darrell Brooks, 40, guilty of killing six people by driving his SUV into a Christmas parade last November in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Go deeper.
  3. A second woman alleged that Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee in Georgia's Senate race, was involved in her getting an abortion. Go deeper.
  4. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was ordered to testify before the Atlanta special grand jury investigating the 2020 election. Go deeper.
  5. 🎥 Bonus: One of the producers for the recent superhero movie "Black Adam" said at the Axios BFD event today that the new blockbuster proved some "very important audience metrics as far as diversity." Go deeper.

4. Parting shot

Screenshot: Twitter

Self-described "Chief Twit" Elon Musk strolled into Twitter HQ today with a sink in hand, ahead of the expected close of his deal on Friday.

  • Twitter employees recently told Axios that Musk's takeover bid has presented challenges within the office.
  • “People are just exhausted,” said a Twitter employee. “It can be conflicting because as a shareholder you’re happy but as an employee, there's a lot of uncertainty.”

Thanks to Sheryl Miller for copy editing today's newsletter.