In an effort to boost the sagging American real estate market, the Federal Reserve has turned to unconventional new programs designed to appeal to young professionals.
New homeowner Amy Roberts expected to receive incentives such as a reduced interest rate or an additional tax deduction when she purchased her first house, but was surprised to find that she instead received only a $500 Starbucks gift card.
“I was really hoping for something that could make the cost of buying and maintaining a home more affordable, especially since my budget is stretched pretty thin,” Roberts said. “I guess I’ll have to start having a caramel macchiato more often now, but I don’t even like coffee.”
Some Americans have argued that the new program actually leads to a net negative effect on the economy by driving consumers away from local coffee shops and into a taxpayer-subsidized Starbucks.
“I’m just getting killed here with all the young people who don’t come into the shop to buy a small coffee and use the free wi-fi for three hours anymore,” said local coffeeshop owner Ty Brown. “Every time I see a ‘sold’ sign by a house in a trendy neighborhood, I know we’ve lost another customer.”
Fed Chair Janet Yellen defended the new policy, arguing that it is the only effective way to increase homeownership among notoriously difficult-to-reach millennials.
“We’ve tried everything- 1,000 free Instagram followers with a home purchase, VIP cards for hot local brunch spots, and even free tattoos of the new homeowner’s address,” Yellen said. “The only way we can get through to these anti-establishment millennials is by giving them a gift card to one of America’s largest corporations.”
With early data indicating a rise in first-time home purchases, sources close to the Fed indicate it is considering rolling out a set of exclusive Snapchat filters for new homeowners.