Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Residential Construction Report: December 2014

Today’s New Residential Construction Report showed mixed results with total permit activity declining 1.9% since November while total starts increased 4.4% over the same period.

Single family housing permits, the most leading of indicators, increased 4.5% from November to 667K single family units (SAAR), and rose 8.1% below the level seen in December 2013 and still remained well below levels seen at the peak in September 2005.


Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – January 21 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications.

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases.

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) decreased 5 basis points to 3.77% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 3% and the refinance application volume jumped 22% over the same period.

In the last two weeks, there has been a notable 16 basis point decline in interest rates stimulating a whopping 88% jump in refinance applications and 21% jump in purchase applications and rates appear to be headed even lower.

The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages since 2006 as well as the purchase, refinance and composite loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NAHB/Wells Fargo Home Builder Sentiment: January 2015

Today, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released their latest Housing Market Index (HMI) showing that overall assessments of housing activity went flat in January with the composite HMI index remaining at 57 while the "buyer traffic" index declined to a level of 44 from 46 in the prior month.

Overall, conditions for new home construction appear to have softened some recently and still remain below the peak assessments see prior to the Great Recession.




Friday, January 16, 2015

Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization: December 2014

Today, the Federal Reserve released their monthly read of industrial production and capacity utilization showing an decrease in December with total industrial production falling 0.11% since November but climbing 4.88% above the level seen in December 2013.

Capacity utilization also declined falling 0.38% from November but climbing 1.64% above the level seen in December 2013 to stand at 79.74%


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Initial and Continued January 15 2015

Today’s jobless claims report showed a sharp increase to initial unemployment claims and an decrease to insured unemployment claims as seasonally adjusted initial claims jumped above the 300K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims increased a notable 19,000 to 316,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 51,000 to 2.424 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 1.8%.


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – January 07 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications.

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases.

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) decreased 4 basis points to 3.94% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 5% and the refinance application volume declined 12% over the same period.

The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages since 2006 as well as the purchase, refinance and composite loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).




ADP National Employment Report: December 2014

Today, private staffing and business services firm ADP released the latest installment of their National Employment Report indicating that the situation for private employment in the U.S. improved in December as private employers added 240,000 jobs in the month bringing the total employment level 2.19% above the level seen in December 2013.

Look for Friday’s (possibly postponed) BLS Employment Situation Report to likely show somewhat similar trends.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Home Sales: November 2014

Today, the U.S. Census Department released its monthly New Residential Home Sales Report for November showing sales declining 1.6% from October and falling 1.6% below the level seen in November 2013 remaining near an historically low level with 438K SAAR units.

The monthly supply increased to 5.8 months while the median selling price increased 1.35% and the average selling price declined 4.29% from the year ago level.

The following chart show the extent of sales decline to date (click for full-larger version).

GDP: Q3 2014 (Final Estimate)

Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released their final "estimate" of the Q1 2014 GDP report showing that the economy grew strongly in the third quarter with real GDP improving at an annualized rate of 5.0% from Q2 2014.

On a year-over-year basis, real GDP increased 2.70% while the quarter-to-quarter non-annualized percent change was an increase of 1.22%.

Existing Home Sales Report: November 2014

Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report for November showing weak sales with total home sales falling 6.1% since October but still climbing 2.1% above the level seen in November 2013.

Single family home sales also slumped with sales falling 6.3 from October but still climbing 2.4% above the level seen in November 2013 while the median selling price increased 5.6% above the level seen a year earlier.

Inventory of single family homes decreased from October to 1.86 million units but rose 1.6% above the level seen in November 2013 which, along with the sales pace, resulted in a monthly supply of 5.2 months.

The following charts (click for full-screen dynamic version) shows national existing single family home sales, median home prices, inventory and months of supply since 2005.



The Chicago Fed National Activity Index: November 2014

The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated that the national economic activity strengthened in November with the index climbing to a level of 0.73 from a level of 0.31 in October while the three month moving average also improved to a level of 0.48.

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity collected into four overall categories of “production and income”, “employment, unemployment and income”, “personal consumption and housing” and “sales, orders and inventories”.

The Chicago Fed regards a value of zero for the total index as indicating that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate while a negative value indicates below average growth.

A value at or below -0.70 for the three month moving average of the national activity index (CFNAI-MA3) indicates that the national economy has either just entered or continues in recession.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – December 17 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications.

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases.

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) decreased 5 basis points to 3.97% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 7% and the refinance application volume went flat over the same period.

The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages since 2006 as well as the purchase, refinance and composite loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Residential Construction Report: November 2014

Today’s New Residential Construction Report showed notable declines to both permits and starts with total permit activity declining a notable 5.2% since October while total starts declined 1.6% over the same period.

Single family housing permits, the most leading of indicators, declined 1.2% from October to 639K single family units (SAAR), and declined 0.9% below the level seen in November 2013 and still remained well below levels seen at the peak in September 2005.


Homebuilder Blues: NAHB/Wells Fargo Home Builder Ratings December 2014

Yesterday, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released their latest Housing Market Index (HMI) showing that assessments of housing activity went flat in December with the composite HMI index falling slightly to 57 from 58 the prior month while the "buyer traffic" index remained at a level of 45.




Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization: November 2014

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve released their monthly read of industrial production and capacity utilization showing an increase in November with total industrial production rising 1.26% since October and climbing 5.21% above the level seen in November 2013.

Capacity utilization also rose increasing 0.9% from October and 1.13% above the level seen in November 2013 to stand at 79.34%