Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

S&P/Case-Shiller: November 2011

Note... be sure to bookmark the overall S&P/Case-Shiller Dashboard or the Scary Housing Dashboard of the weakest markets for a real-time view of all the markets tracked by S&P.

The latest release of the S&P/Case-Shiller (CSI) home price indices for November reported that the non-seasonally adjusted Composite-10 price index declined 1.29% since October while the Composite-20 index declined 1.27% over the same period with both measures continuing to decline notably since last year.

The latest CSI data clearly indicates that the price trends are experiencing a declining trend into the typically less active summer and fall season and as I recently pointed out, the more timely and less distorted Radar Logic RPX data is starting to capture notable falling prices driven primarily by seasonality.

The 10-city composite index declined 3.56% as compared to November 2010 while the 20-city composite declined 3.67% over the same period.

Topping the list of regional peak decliners was Las Vegas at -61.07%, Phoenix at -55.54%, Miami at -51.06%, Tampa at -47.36% and Detroit at -44.38%.

Additionally, both of the broad composite indices show significant peak declines slumping -32.87% for the 10-city national index and -32.94% for the 20-city national index on a peak comparison basis.

To better visualize today’s results use Blytic.com to view the full release.

The following charts (click for larger version) shows the percent change to single family home prices given by the Case-Shiller Indices as compared to each metros respective price peak set between 2005 and 2007 as well as annual and monthly changes.




Additionally, in order to add some historical context to the perspective, I updated my “then and now” CSI charts that compare our current circumstances to the data seen during 90s housing decline.

To create the following annual and normalized charts I simply aligned the CSI data from the last month of positive year-over-year gains for both the current decline and the 90s housing bust and plotted the data side-by-side (click for larger version).



The “peak” chart compares the percentage change, comparing monthly CSI values to the peak value seen just prior to the first declining month all the way through the downturn and the full recovery of home prices.


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Monday, January 30, 2012

More Pain, Less Gain: S&P/Case-Shiller Preview for November 2011

As I demonstrated in prior posts, given their strong correlation, the home price indices provided daily by Radar Logic, averaged monthly, can effectively be used as a preview of the monthly S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices.

The current Radar Logic 25 MSA Composite data reported on residential real estate transactions (condos, multi and single family homes) that settled as late as November 25 and averaged for the month indicates that with slowing summer/fall transactions has come a notable decline of prices (the typical trend) with the national index declining 1.8% since October and falling 7.11% below the level seen in November 2010.

The Radar Logic index will likely be capturing an decline in prices from now until early 2012 as transactions continue to trend down.

Look for tomorrow's S&P/Case-Shiller home price report to reflect this declining trend though to a lesser degree due to its three month rolling-average nature with prices moderately higher.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

University of Michigan Survey of Consumers January 2012 (Final)

Today's final release of the Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers for January indicated improvement in consumer sentiment with a reading of 75.0 and climbing just 1.08% above the level seen last year while one year inflation expectations rose slightly to 3.3%.

The Index of Consumer Expectations (a component of the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators) rose to 69.1, and the Current Economic Conditions Index climbed to 84.2.

It's important to recognize that consumer sentiment has seriously eroded over the past few months with the current results remaining near levels not seen since 1980, a major indication that consumers are in the process of tightening even further on spending.


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Home Sales: December 2011

Today, the U.S. Census Department released its monthly New Residential Home Sales Report for December showing a notable monthly decline with sales dropping 2.2% since November and 7.3% below the level seen in December 2010 and remaining at an epically low level of 307K SAAR units.

It's important to recognize that the inventory of new homes has now fallen to a new series low at 157K units, lowest level seen in in at least 47 years while the median number of months for sale declined to 6.7.

The monthly supply remained declined to 6.1 months while the median selling price declined 12.81% and the average selling price declined 8.81% from the year ago level.

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

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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index: December 2011

Today’s release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) improved though continued to indicate weakness in national economic trends with the index climbing to a tepid 0.17 while the three month moving average improved to -0.08.

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.

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Extended Unemployment: Initial, Continued and Extended Unemployment Claims January 26 2012

Today’s jobless claims report showed notable increases to both initial and continued unemployment claims as seasonally adjusted remained below the closely watched 400K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment increased 21,000 to 377,000 claims from last week’s revised 356,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims increased by 88,000 resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.8%.

Since the middle of 2008 though, two federal government sponsored “extended” unemployment benefit programs (the “extended benefits” and “EUC 2008” from recent legislation) have been picking up claimants that have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls.

Currently there are some 3.41 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 4.11 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 7.53 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

FHFA Monthly Home Prices: November 2011

Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released the latest results of their monthly house price index (HPI) showing that, nationally, home prices increased 0.98% since October and declined 2.48% below the level seen in November 2010.

The FHFA monthly HPI are formulated from home purchase information collected from mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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Pending Home Sales: December 2011

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for December showing that home sales slowed with the seasonally adjusted national index dropping 3.5% since November while increasing 5.57% above the level seen in December 2010.

Meanwhile, the NARs chief economist Lawrence Yun suggests that the rice in contract activity still remains high compared with the past few years and that homebuyers are persistent even in light of notable contract failures.

"Even with a modest decline, the preceding two months of contract activity are the highest in the past four years outside of the homebuyer tax credit period, ... Contract failures remain an issue, reported by one-third of Realtors® over the past few months, but home buyers are not giving up."

The following chart shows the seasonally adjusted national pending home sales index along with the percent change on a year-over-year basis as well as the percent change from the peak set in 2005 (click for larger version).

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Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – January 25 2012

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) increased 6 basis points to 4.04% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 5.4% and the refinance application declined 5.2% over the same period.

With rates trending ever lower, the economy seemingly near recession and the FOMC members becoming more dovish by the day, it will be interesting to see how far rates on the long end can decline.  All things being equal, falling home prices, declining purchase applications and record low long lending rates all appear to indicate a deflationary for the macro-economy.

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).




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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity: January 2012

Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond released their Survey of Manufacturing Activity for January showing that the composite index, the broadest measure of manufacturing activity, improved 9 points to a level of 12.

The most notable component measures also showed similar results with the new orders improving to 14

The following chart plots the composite index with the red line marking a level of 0, or the threshold between increasing and declining activity.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Radar Watching: November 2011

As I have noted in the past, since the home price index data provided by Radar Logic is more timely, unadjusted and un-smoothed it is particularly useful for gaining deeper visibility over our housing markets.

As for the latest trends, it’s important to note that the 25-MSA Composite is continuing to show significant year-over-year declines and has now dropped well below all recent lows reaching a level not seen since early 2003.

The latest data shows that as of late November, prices have declined 7.11% below the level seen in
November 2010 while continuing to turn down from a seasonal peak reached in mid-June.

With the spring/summer selling season now complete and declining prices now registering with regularity, there is nowhere for prices to go but down. Look for a declining trend to continue to materialize and likely run into March or April of 2012.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Existing Home Sales Report: December 2011

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report for December showing an increase in sales with total home sales climbing 5.0% since November and 3.6% above the level seen in December 2010.

Single family home sales increased 4.6% from November and rose 4.3% above the level seen in December 2010 while the median selling price declined 2.5% below the level seen in December 2010.

Inventory of single family homes declined 10.7% from November dropping 19.7% below the level seen in December 2010 which resulted in a monthly supply of 6.1 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.



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Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Residential Construction Report: December 2011

Today’s New Residential Construction Report showed that in December, both single family permits and starts increased from November with permits continuing to show tepid results when compared on a year-over-year basis while starts improved notably over the same period.

Single family housing permits, the most leading of indicators, increased 1.8% from last month to 444K single family units (SAAR), but declined 0.22% below the level seen in December 2010 and remaining an astonishing 75.31% below the peak in September 2005.

Single family housing starts increased 4.44% to 470K units (SAAR), and climbed 11.64% above the level seen in December 2010 but remaining a stunning 74.22% below the peak set in early 2006.

With the substantial headwinds of elevated unemployment, epic levels of foreclosure and delinquency, mounting bankruptcies, contracting consumer credit, and falling real wages, an overhang of inventory and still falling home prices, the environment for “organic” home sales remains weak and likely very fragile.


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Extended Unemployment: Initial, Continued and Extended Unemployment Claims January 19 2011

Today’s jobless claims report showed notable declines to both initial and continued unemployment claims as seasonally adjusted initial fell back below the closely watched 400K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment declined 50,000 to 352,000 claims from last week’s revised 402,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 215,000 resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.7%.

Since the middle of 2008 though, two federal government sponsored “extended” unemployment benefit programs (the “extended benefits” and “EUC 2008” from recent legislation) have been picking up claimants that have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls.

Currently there are some 3.56 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 4.16 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 7.77 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homebuilder Blues: NAHB/Wells Fargo Home Builder Ratings January 2012

Today, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released their latest Housing Market Index (HMI) showing that all measures increased in January with the composite HMI index climbing to 25, the highest level seen since mid-2007, while the "buyer traffic" index climbed to 21.

While all indicators made notable increases in January, it's important to note that conditions still remain distressed by historic standards.

The new home market will likely not resume any significant form of healthy function until the considerable overhang of inventory is cleared.




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Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – January 18 2012

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) declined 5 basis points to 3.98% since last week while the purchase application volume surged 10.3% and the refinance application jumped a whopping 26.40% over the same period.

With rates trending ever lower, the economy seemingly near recession and the FOMC members becoming more dovish by the day, it will be interesting to see how far rates on the long end can decline.  All things being equal, falling home prices, declining purchase applications and record low long lending rates all appear to indicate a deflationary for the macro-economy.

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).




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