Morning Report: Home Prices Rise

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 3235 -5.1
Oil (WTI) 42.34 1.22
10 year government bond yield 0.59%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.02%

 

Stocks are flattish as earnings continue to come in. Bonds and MBS are up after the Trump Administration took steps to close the Chinese Consulate in Houston.

 

Mortgage Applications rose 4% last week as purchases rose 2% and refis rose 5%. “Mortgage applications increased last week despite mixed results from the various rates tracked in MBA’s survey. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose slightly to 3.20 percent, but some creditworthy borrowers are being offered rates even below 3 percent. As a result, these low rates drove a 5 percent weekly gain in refinances and a robust 122 percent increase from a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “There continues to be strong homebuyer demand this summer, as home shoppers have returned to the market in many states. Purchase activity increased again last week and was up 19 percent compared to last year – the ninth straight week of year-over-year increases.”

 

Home prices fell 0.3% MOM, but are still up 4.9% YOY, according to the FHFA House Price Index. “U.S. house prices posted a small decrease in May compared to April but remained 4.9 percent higher than a year ago,” according to Dr. Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics at FHFA. “The May HPI results are based on contracts for sale signed in late March and throughout April, which was a period when many states announced stay-at-home orders. The number of transactions powering the FHFA HPI in May was down by just over 30 percent compared to a year ago, reflecting the early effects of COVID-19 shutdowns. Based on the rebound in mortgage applications for home purchases and pending home sales in May, we expect the number of transactions increased somewhat in June.”

 

The number of Americans considering a new home purchase has been relatively unaffected by COVID, at least according to numbers by the NAHB. I guess there is a push-pull effect going on. On one hand, COVID and the riots are pushing renters out of the cities, but on the other hand, economic uncertainty is making potential buyers more cautious.

 

Chris Waller and Judy Shelton were approved by the Senate Banking Committee to join the Federal Reserve Board. Judy Shelton has expressed support for the gold standard, and has questioned whether bank deposits should be insured. These thoughtcrimes make her toxic for Democrats. The two now go to the Senate for a full vote.

 

Note we will have the FOMC meeting next week, where further stimulus measures will be discussed. The credit tightening in the mortgage market will almost certainly be an issue, although I don’t know what the Fed can do about that since it is being driven by the CARES Act, not necessarily financial markets.

Author: Brent Nyitray

In the physical sciences, knowledge is cumulative. In the financial markets, it is cyclical

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