Morning Report: Existing Home Sales jump

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 3285 5.1
Oil (WTI) 41.84 -0.22
10 year government bond yield 0.59%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.02%

 

Stocks are flattish as earnings continue to pile in. Bonds and MBS are flat.

 

Initial Jobless Claims increased last week as we saw a wave of new COVID-10 cases. New claims increased from 1.3MM to 1.4MM

 

Despite the new COVID fears, the housing recovery is in full swing. Existing home sales rose 21% in June, to an annualized pace of 4.72 million. according to NAR. This is still down 11% on a YOY basis, but we are getting a lot of data points that show a meaningful recovery.

“The sales recovery is strong, as buyers were eager to purchase homes and properties that they had been eyeing during the shutdown,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “This revitalization looks to be sustainable for many months ahead as long as mortgage rates remain low and job gains continue.”

The median home price rose 3.5% YOY to $295,300, while inventory is at 4 months’ worth. The first time homebuyer percentage is approaching normalcy, at 35%. Historically it has been closer to 40%.

 

Speaking of housing, homebuilder Meritage Homes reported second quarter numbers yesterday. Orders increased 32% year-over-year. May and June were record selling months for the company, which focuses on entry-level homebuyers.

“Demand for new homes is being driven by historically low mortgage interest rates, a shortage of used homes for sale, and an increased need for homes that can accommodate entire families working from home more than ever before. Many of those families are choosing safe suburban communities rather than crowded urban centers and many often prefer to purchase a home virtually rather than physically,” he explained. “That is exactly what Meritage offers. 100% of our communities are open for both in-person and virtual sales, and our virtual selling capabilities have been very beneficial. More than half of our communities are designed for the entry-level market with a wide selection of affordable homes ready for quick move-in, while our streamlined design selection process in Studio M  allows first move-up customers to move quickly into a new home.”

The company took up guidance for full year earnings to about $9 bucks a share, when the Street was looking for about $6.

 

A record number of people are leaving the expensive urban areas to move to cheaper locations with more outdoor space and better weather. Phoenix, Sacramento, Austin, and Las Vegas are growing, while buyers flee New York City, Los Angeles and Sacramento. The subtext to all of this is remote working, which is a game-changer. From one realtor:

“We’re seeing tons of interest from clients moving to Austin from major cities on both coasts, particularly tech workers,” Vallejo said. “Buyers who have discovered they don’t love being quarantined in an apartment building in San Francisco or New York and can work remotely are looking for a house, and they can afford that here in Austin. I have a client moving from the Bay Area who just closed on a home site unseen, and another client from Portland who is in the process of buying a home here.”

 

Democrats are promoting a bill that would prohibit the GSEs and Ginnie Mae from charging fees for forbearances. Fannie and Fred introduced the idea of adding big LLPAs for loans in forbearance. The unintended consequence of forbearance has been a tightening of credit, particularly for government lending. Part of this is due to low or even negative servicing values for FHA and VA loans.

 

Home sellers are reaping gains of almost $76k according to ATTOM Data Solutions. Taking into account time held, this represents a return of 36% compared to the original purchase price. Of course if you take into account the equity you actually contributed, it is probably much higher.

Author: Brent Nyitray

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

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