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On the Hill Episode 19: CNBC Senior Correspondent Diana Olick

In this episode of On the Hill, Tim Rood talks with Emmy Award-winning journalist Diana Olick, who serves as CNBC's senior climate and real estate correspondent. Rood and Olick discuss rising interest rates, the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, turmoil in the sector, and how stresses on regional banks could reverberate throughout the real estate industry. (This episode was recorded just before the Federal Reserve raised interest rates another 25 basis points on March 22, 2023, bringing the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 4.75% and 5%, the highest level since September 2007.)  

"I think the housing market right now is in a really tough spot," Olick said. "It's still incredibly expensive, despite the fact that mortgage rates have pulled back a little bit, thanks to the banking stress story that we've been reporting. Buyers out there are finding very little on the market. New listings are incredibly low for this time of year. It's affordability plain and simple. A lot of folks are sitting out there with 2.9% on a 30-year fixed, and do they want to trade that for 6.5% and move to something else? I don't think so." 

Olick also discusses covering real estate before and after the global financial crisis of 2008, the outlook for the rental housing industry that emerged from that crisis, and her passion for the climate beat. "Climate is huge right now," said Olick, noting that venture capital directed at the problem will be in the trillions of dollars, dwarfing public sector investment. "That is the biggest business story of the future." 

Olick describes the turn of events that launched her journalism career in the former Soviet Union, and how she convinced CNBC to start real estate and climate beats. Prior to joining CNBC, Olick spent seven years as a correspondent for CBS News, reporting for the “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather” and “The Early Show” and contributing pieces to “48 Hours” and “Sunday Morning.”  

Listen to the podcast above.