by phil - December 23rd, 2010 8:19 am
Why it’s almost Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge!
The Global markets are closing for the weekend and we’re bound to have a very slow day – if you are waiting for a Santa Clause rally on today’s trading, you are very likely to be disappointed. Today is a day for relaxation and reflection. Remember, the words of Jacob Marley, who said:
Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!
Marley was a man who worked and worked until the day he died and regretted it every day after. If you don’t believe in an afterlife and you don’t believe in leaving behind the World a better place than you found it, at least find some time for yourself so people don’t call you "a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner" after you’re gone.
I was inspired this morning by a post on Barry’s site titled "Give and You Will Receive" listing 13 good ways we can all give every day. ’Tis the season of giving and goodwill to all man and all that and my children just completed their annual ritual of wrapping up all the toys they are done with to give to children who need them more than they do. It’s a little thing, but if you want your kids to learn the benefits of charity, actually parting with things they like or liked and physically giving them to kids who clearly appreciate it is much more gratifying than writing a check to some anonymous organization. The same goes for volunteering some time (and money!) at a local shelter and helping some people come in from the cold for a nice, warm meal – it makes you appreciate your family dinner a LOT more!
Anyway, end of commercial. Let’s just see who’s being naughty and who’s being nice this morning. We have quite a bit of data today with November Durable Goods at 8:30 (which have been tailing off) along with Personal Income and Spending. 2010 has NOT been an exciting year so far with monthly gains of about 0.4% but, on the bright side, there were only small negative months but this report only covers November and will not…
by ilene - September 8th, 2010 9:54 pm
Here are the key takeaways from the Fed’s Beige Book:
- Reports from the twelve Federal
ReserveDistricts suggested continued growth in national economic activity during the reporting period of mid-July through the end of August, but with widespread signs of a deceleration compared with preceding periods.
spendingappeared to increase on balance despite continued consumer caution that limited nonessential purchases, while activity in the travel and tourism sector picked up relative to seasonal norms.
- Reports on manufacturing activity pointed to further expansion, although the pace of growth eased according to several Districts.
- Home sales slowed further following an initial drop after the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit at the end of June, prompting a slowdown in construction activity as well.
- Demand for commercial real estate remained quite weak but showed signs of stabilization in some areas.
- Reports from financial institutions pointed to generally stable or slightly lower loan demand and noted some modest improvements in credit quality.
- Upward price pressures remained quite limited for most categories of final goods and services, despite higher prices for selected commodities such as grains and some industrial materials. Wage pressures also were limited, although a few Districts noted increased upward pressures in a narrow set of sectors experiencing a mismatch between job requirements and applicant skills.
In sum, slow growth, increased downside risk, low inflation. Read the full report here.
Freddie Mac Announces 95LTV loans, Re-bubble – With This Option You Too Can Join the Underwater Club In As Little As Three Months!!!
by ilene - September 7th, 2010 5:53 pm
Freddie Mac Announces 95LTV loans, Re-bubble – With This Option You Too Can Join the Underwater Club In As Little As Three Months!!!
Courtesy of Reggie Middleton
This is part one of my update on residential real estate mortgages, whose credit conditions have seen a marked improvement over the past year. Of course (yes, you know there is always a but), I believe the improvement is the result of the rampant government intervention in the mortgage markets. As we shall see in part two for this update, even with rampant intervention some of the major mortgage institutions are so sick as to appear to be beyond mere assistance. Brace yourself for Financial Meltdown 2.0, open source edition.
Is it really a Housing Double Dip if Conditions Never Stopped Getting Worse?
Many analysts have speculated housing would reenter a “double dip” courtesy of falling home prices, decreasing home sales, increasing housing inventory, and other issues that have not been resolved since the collapse of the housing market began nearly three years ago. Inevitably, housing policy at the federal level has completely failed to support any regeneration of demand.
Mortgage Rates Can’t Find Rock Bottom: WSJ
- The Freddie Mac survey of 30 year mortgage rates has shown new record lows in rates for 11 straight weeks
- 15, 10, and 5 year rates have also continued their free fall as employment data fails to ease fear in the housing market
Figure 1: Courtesy of Freddie Mac
Figure 2: Courtesy of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Branch
Figure 3: Courtesy of the National Association of Realtors
Housing Prices Climb amid Falling Home Sales (the government’s hidden bid at work): CBS
- Foreclosures continue to increase, July home sales fell by 27%, employment conditions are not getting better, and home prices found a way to rise 7%
- Robert Shiller claims the San Francisco market is “booming” after climbing 21% since 2009 (but don’t ask about the record drops in 2008)
- If you are wondering where your unemployed neighbor is spending all of his free time, check and see if there is a distressed homeowners convention in town
Figure 4: Courtesy of the National Association of Realtors
Federal Reserve Still Watching Foreclosure Data: International Market News
- Average property vacancies have increased from 114 days in 2006 to 954 days in 2010
by ilene - July 23rd, 2010 1:59 pm
Courtesy of Robert Reich
We’re not in a double-dip recession yet. We’re in a one and a half dip recession.
Consumer confidence is down. Retail sales are down. Home sales are down. Permits for single-family starts are down. The average work week is down. The only things not down are inventories – unsold stuff is piling up in warehouses and inventories of unsold homes are rising – and defaults on loans.
The 1.5 dip recession should be causing alarm bells to ring all over official Washington. It should cause deficit hawks to stop squawking about future debt, blue-dog Democrats to stop acting like Republicans, and mainstream Democrats to get some backbone.
The 1.5 dip recession should cause the President to demand a large-scale national jobs program including a new WPA that gets millions of Americans back to work even if government has to pay their wages directly. Included would be zero-interest loans to strapped states and locales, so they didn’t have to cut vital services and raise taxes. They could repay when the economy picked up and revenues came in. The national jobs program would also include a one-year payroll tax holiday on the first $20,000 of income.
The President should stop talking and acting on anything else – not the deficit, not energy, not the environment, not immigration, not implementing the health care law, not education. He should make the whole upcoming mid-term election a national referendum on putting Americans back to work, and his jobs bill. Are you for it or against it?
But none of this is happening. The hawks and blue dogs are still commanding the attention. Herbert Hoover’s ghost seems to have captured the nation’s capital. We’re back to 1932 (or 1937) and the prevailing sentiment is government can’t and mustn’t do anything but aim to reduce the deficit, even though the economy is going down.
It looks like there’ll be an extension of unemployment benefits. (If it weren’t for the human suffering involved, I wish the Republicans had been forced to filibuster that bill all summer and show the nation just how much they care about people without jobs.) But the fiscal stimulus resulting from this will be tiny. Jobless benefits are humane but they alone don’t get jobs back.
by ilene - June 23rd, 2010 10:53 am
May new residential home sales were just 300,000 vs. 423,000 expected according to Fact Set consensus.
It’s actually the worst number we’ve seen yet:
Sales of new single-family houses in May 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 300,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 32.7 percent (±9.9%) below the revised April rate of 446,000 and is 18.3 percent (±13.0%) below the May 2009 estimate of 367,000.
The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2010 was $200,900; the average sales price was $263,400. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 213,000. This represents a supply of 8.5 months at the current sales rate.
Check out the full official release below:
by ilene - February 24th, 2010 10:36 am
Some more ugly data out of the Census department regarding new home sales:
Sales of new single-family houses in January 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 11.2 percent (±14.0%)* below the revised December rate of 348,000 and is 6.1 percent (±15.1%)* below the January 2009 estimate of 329,000.
The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2010 was $203,500; the average sales price was $254,500. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 234,000. This represents a supply of 9.1 months at the current sales rate.
Analysts had been looking for 325,000, so this is a solid miss.
by ilene - January 27th, 2010 11:51 am
Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Mess That Greenspan Made
Can it possibly get any worse for the homebuilders? Apparently so, given the most recent data on new home sales as reported(.pdf) by the Census Bureau a short time ago.
The December rate of 342,000 units is the third worst monthly total on record – only January and March of last year were worse at 329,000 and 332,000, respectively.
After emerging from the recession sometime last summer (according to most economists), last month’s total was down 75 percent from the peak in 2005 and, in population-adjusted terms, 26 percent below the pre-2009 all-time low that occurred in 1981.
by ilene - January 25th, 2010 10:30 am
Courtesy of Vince Veneziani at Clusterstock
Despite being up over 7% in November of 2009, December home sales in the U.S. took a huge hit, falling 16.7% for the month.
A decline of around 10% was the industry consensus.
Here’s the full announcement from the National Association of Realtors:
After a rising surge from September through November, existing-home sales fell as expected in December after first-time buyers rushed to complete sales before the original November deadline for the tax credit. However, prices rose from December 2008 and annual sales improved in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – fell 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.45 million units in December from 6.54 million in November, but remain 15.0 percent above the 4.74 million-unit level in December 2008.
For all of 2009 there were 5,156,000 existing-home sales, which was 4.9 percent higher than the 4,913,000 transactions recorded in 2008; it was the first annual sales gain since 2005.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there were no surprises in the data. “It’s significant that home sales remain above year-ago levels, but the market is going through a period of swings driven by the tax credit,” he said. “We’ll likely have another surge in the spring as home buyers take advantage of the extended and expanded tax credit. By early summer the overall market should benefit from more balanced inventory, and sales are on track to rise again in 2010. However, the job market remains a concern and could dampen the housing recovery – job creation is key to a continued recovery in the second half of the year.”
An NAR practitioner survey2 shows first-time buyers purchased 43 percent of homes in December, down from 51 percent in November. Repeat buyers rose to 42 percent of transactions in December from 37 percent in November; the remaining sales were to investors.
The national median existing-home price3 for all housing types was $178,300 in December, which is 1.5 percent higher than December 2008. “The median price rose because of an increased number of mid- to upper-priced homes in the sales mix,” Yun said. It was the first year-over-year gain in
by ilene - January 6th, 2010 11:16 pm
Courtesy of Mish
Not only are personal bankruptcies soaring, U.S. business bankruptcies rise 38 pct in 2009.
U.S. business bankruptcies rose 38 percent last year, to a record since bankruptcy laws were changed in 2005, according to a bankruptcy data firm on Tuesday.
There were 89,402 bankruptcy filings by businesses last year, compared with 64,584 the previous year, according to data compiled from court filings by Automated Access to Court Electronic Records, which is part of Jupiter eSources LLC in Oklahoma City.
Personal bankruptcies jumped to 1,357,565 last year, from 1,031,562 the year before.
The data included bankruptcy codes Chapter 7, 11 and others. Consumers often use Chapter 7 to get a new start on their financial lives. Chapter 13 lets people discharge some debts. Businesses typically use Chapter 7 to relieve themselves of debt and Chapter 11 to restructure debt and operations.
The numbers have been "steadily up," said AACER President Mike Bickford. "I don’t think (2010) will be less than 2009. I think what’s going to tell the tale for 2010 is the first quarter."
US home sales plummet, personal bankruptcies soar
Inquiring minds are reading US home sales plummet, personal bankruptcies soar
An important measure of future home sales fell far more sharply in November than economists had expected. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) index on pending home sales—contracts agreed upon but not finalized—dropped by 16 percent in November, more than three times what economists interviewed by the Dow Jones Newswires had anticipated.
The pending home sales index registered declines in every region: 26 percent in the Northeast and Midwest, 15 percent in the South, and 3 percent in the West.
The NAR report follows the release last week of a Case-Schiller report showing home prices were flat in October, in spite of the surge in purchases based on the home buyer tax credit and exceptionally low mortgage interest rates. This was not enough, a Tuesday New York Times editorial points out, “to overcome the drag created by a glut of 3.2 million new and existing unsold single-family homes—about a seven-month supply.”
“The situation, we fear, will only get worse in months to come,” the Times writes, citing increasing mortgage rates, the eventual ending of the home buyer tax, and
by ilene - August 21st, 2009 11:32 am
(WASHINGTON) — Home resales posted the largest monthly increase in at least 10 years last month as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit that expires this fall.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that home sales rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.24 million in July, from a pace of 4.89 million in June. (Read "Home Sales Perk Up, but Expensive Houses Languish")
It was the fourth-straight monthly increase and the highest level of sales since August 2007. Sales had been expected to rise to an annual pace of 5 million, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters..
The inventory of unsold homes on the market rose to 4.1 million, from 3.8 million a month earlier. That’s a 9.4-month supply at the current sales pace, unchanged from a month earlier.
Sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties made up about a third of all transactions last month, down from nearly half earlier this year. In places like San Diego and Orlando, buyers are snapping up foreclosed properties at deep discounts, and real estate agents are pressing banks to release more foreclosures onto the market…