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Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in March

21 hours ago

From housing economist Tom Lawler:Based on publicly-available local realtor/MLS reports released across the country through today, I project that existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.02 million in March, down 3.2% from February’s preliminary pace but up 12.5% from last March’s seasonally adjusted pace.Local realtor reports, as well as reports from national inventory trackers, suggest that the YOY decline in the inventory of existing homes for sale last month was greater than the big decline in February.One moderately interesting thing to note is that most realtors that break out sales by type showed substantially larger YOY increases in condo sales than in SF detached sales.Finally, local realtor/MLS data

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April 16th COVID-19 Vaccinations, New Cases, Hospitalizations; Over 200 Million Doses Administered

22 hours ago

Note: I’m looking forward to not posting this daily! I’ve been posting this data daily for over a year, and I’ll stop once all three of these criteria are met:1) 70% of the population over 18 has had at least one dose of vaccine,2) new cases are under 5,000 per day, and3) hospitalizations are below 3,000.According to the CDC, 202.3 million doses have been administered. 31.1% of the population over 18 is fully vaccinated, and 49.1% of the population over 18 has had at least one dose (126.6 million people over 18 have had at least one dose).And check out COVID Act Now to see how each state is doing. Over 10,000 US deaths were reported so far in April due to COVID.Click on graph for larger image.This graph shows the daily (columns) 7 day average (line) of positive tests reported.Note: The

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California March Housing: Sales up 20% YoY, Active Listings down 51% YoY

1 day ago

The CAR reported: California median home price reaches new all-time high in March as nearly two-thirds of homes sell above asking price, C.A.R. reportsFierce competition drove California’s median home price to reach a new record high in March, while the state’s housing market continued its momentum with sales remaining solid heading into the spring homebuying season, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today. Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 462,720 in February, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2021 if

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Black Knight: Number of Homeowners in COVID-19-Related Forbearance Plans Decreased Slightly

1 day ago

Note: Both Black Knight and the MBA (Mortgage Bankers Association) are putting out weekly estimates of mortgages in forbearance.This data is as of April 13th.From Black Knight: Forbearances Improve for Seventh Straight WeekThe country saw a modest decrease in the number of active forbearance plans this week, falling by just 1,000 but still marking the seventh consecutive week of improvement. This mid-month lull in improvement was expected – they’ve become commonplace during the recovery, with the strongest rates of improvement seen early and late in the month as mortgages are reviewed for extension/removal from forbearance. With 380,000 loans still slated for these reviews by the end of this month, we could still see additional forbearance improvement in late April/early May. Click on

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Q1 GDP Forecasts: Around 7%

1 day ago

Note that the forecasts of the automated systems (based on released data), have caught up with the forecasts of economists, as data for March is released.From Merrill Lynch: Despite robust retail sales growth, it was less bullish than our forecast, resulting in a 0.5pp reduction to our 1Q GDP tracking estimate, to 6.5% qoq saar. [Apr 16 estimate]emphasis addedFrom Goldman Sachs: We left our Q1 GDP tracking estimate unchanged on a rounded basis at +7.5% (qoq ar). [Apr 16 estimate]From the NY Fed Nowcasting ReportThe New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 6.8% for 2021:Q1 and 4.4% for 2021:Q2. [Apr 16 estimate]And from the Altanta Fed: GDPNowThe GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2021 is 8.3 percent on April 16, unchanged from

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Comments on March Housing Starts

1 day ago

Earlier: Housing Starts increased to 1.739 Million Annual Rate in MarchThis was the highest level for starts since June 2006.Total housing starts in March were above expectations, and starts in January and February were revised up. Single family starts increased in March, and were up 41% year-over-year (starts declined at the beginning of the pandemic). The volatile multi-family sector is up year-over-year (apartments were under pressure from COVID).The housing starts report showed total starts were up 19.4% in March compared to February, and total starts were up 37.0% year-over-year compared to March 2020.Low mortgage rates and limited existing home inventory have given a boost to single family housing starts.The first graph shows the month to month comparison for total starts between

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Housing Starts increased to 1.739 Million Annual Rate in March

1 day ago

From the Census Bureau: Permits, Starts and CompletionsHousing Starts:Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,739,000. This is 19.4 percent above the revised February estimate of 1,457,000 and is 37.0 percent above the March 2020 rate of 1,269,000. Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 1,238,000; this is 15.3 percen above the revised February figure of 1,074,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 477,000. Building Permits:Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,766,000. This is 2.7 percent above the revised February rate of 1,720,000 and is 30.2 percent above the March 2020 rate of 1,356,000. Single-family

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Friday: Housing Starts

2 days ago

Friday:• At 8:30 AM ET, Housing Starts for March. The consensus is for 1.600 million SAAR, up from 1.421 million SAAR in February.• At 10:00 AM, University of Michigan’s Consumer sentiment index (Preliminary for April).• Also at 10:00 AM, State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) for March 2021

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April 15th COVID-19 Vaccinations, New Cases, Hospitalizations; Almost 200 Million Doses Administered

2 days ago

Note: I’m looking forward to not posting this daily! I’ve been posting this data daily for over a year, and I’ll stop once all three of these criteria are met:1) 70% of the population over 18 has had at least one dose of vaccine,2) new cases are under 5,000 per day, and3) hospitalizations are below 3,000.According to the CDC, 198.3 million doses have been administered. 30.3% of the population over 18 is fully vaccinated, and 48.3% of the population over 18 has had at least one dose (124.8 million people have had at least one dose).And check out COVID Act Now to see how each state is doing. Almost 9,500 US deaths were reported so far in April due to COVID.Click on graph for larger image.This graph shows the daily (columns) 7 day average (line) of positive tests reported.Note: The ups and

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Phoenix Real Estate in March: Sales Up 14% YoY, Active Inventory Down 69% YoY

2 days ago

The Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) reports ("Stats Report"):1) Overall sales were at 9,806 in March, up 13.7% from 8,626 in March 2020.2) Active inventory was at 4,383, down 69.3% from 14,257 in March 2020.3) Months of supply decreased to 0.92 in March from 2.11 in March 2020. This is very low.Sales are reported at the close of escrow, so these sales were mostly signed in January and February.

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Rhode Island Real Estate in March: Sales Up 10% YoY, Inventory Down 44% YoY

2 days ago

Note: I’m tracking data for many local markets around the U.S. I think it is especially important to watch inventory this year.For for the entire state Rhode Island:Closed sales (single family and condos) in March 2021 were 1,029, up 10.1% from 935 in March 2020.Active Listings (single family and condos)  in March 2021 were 1,637, down 44.4% from 2,945 in March 2020.

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NMHC: "April Apartment Market Conditions Show Improvement"

2 days ago

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) released their April report: April Apartment Market Conditions Show ImprovementApartment market conditions showed improvement in the National Multifamily Housing Council’s Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions for April 2021, as the industry begins to see signs of optimism. While the Sales Volume (77) and Equity Financing (68) indexes both came in above the breakeven level (50) for the third consecutive quarter, the index for Market Tightness (81) signaled tighter conditions for the first time since October 2019. The Debt Financing index (44) indicated weaker conditions. “We are finally seeing improvement in most markets around the country,” noted NMHC Chief Economist Mark Obrinsky. “While gateway metros are still generally facing

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Hotels: Occupancy Rate Down 15% Compared to Same Week in 2019

2 days ago

Note: The year-over-year occupancy comparisons are easy, since occupancy declined sharply at the onset of the pandemic. However, occupancy is still down significantly from normal levels.The occupancy rate is down 15% compared to the same week in 2019.From CoStar: STR: US Hotels Achieve Highest Weekly Demand Level Since Start of COVID-19The U.S. hotel industry posted its highest demand and occupancy levels since the beginning of the pandemic, according to STR‘s latest weekly data through April 10.April 4-10, 2021:• Occupancy: 59.7%• Average daily rate (ADR): US$112.22• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$66.99 Reflecting the country’s almost 2-point improvement in occupancy from the previous week, more than 50% of properties posted a weekly occupancy above 60%. emphasis addedFor

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NAHB: Builder Confidence Increased to 83 in April

2 days ago

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 83, up from 82 in March. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Edges Up as Strong Demand Offsets Supply-Side ChallengesStrong buyer demand pushed builder confidence up in April even as builders continued to grapple with rising lumber prices and supply chain issues and consumers faced higher home prices due to a lack inventory. The latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today shows that builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes rose one point to 83 in April. “Despite strong buyer traffic, builders continue to face challenges to add much needed housing supply to

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Industrial Production Increased 1.4 Percent in March

2 days ago

From the Fed: Industrial Production and Capacity UtilizationIn March, total industrial production increased 1.4 percent. The gain in March followed a drop of 2.6 percent in February, which largely resulted from widespread outages related to severe winter weather in the south central region of the country. For the first quarter as a whole, total industrial production rose 2.5 percent at an annual rate. In March, manufacturing production and mining output increased 2.7 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively. The output of utilities dropped 11.4 percent, as the demand for heating fell because of a swing in temperatures from an unseasonably cold February to an unseasonably warm March. At 105.6 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in March was 1.0 percent higher than its

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Retail Sales Increased 9.8% in March

2 days ago

On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 9.8 percent from February to March (seasonally adjusted), and sales were up 27.7 percent from March 2020.From the Census Bureau report:Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $619.1 billion, an increase of 9.8 percent from the previous month, and 27.7 percent above March 2020. emphasis added Click on graph for larger image.This graph shows retail sales since 1992. This is monthly retail sales and food service, seasonally adjusted (total and ex-gasoline).Retail sales ex-gasoline were up 9.7% in March.The stimulus checks boosted retail sales significantly in March.The second graph shows the year-over-year change

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Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decreased sharply to 576,000

2 days ago

The DOL reported:In the week ending April 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 576,000, a decrease of 193,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 25,000 from 744,000 to 769,000. The 4-week moving average was 683,000, a decrease of 47,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week’s average was revised up by 6,500 from 723,750 to 730,250. emphasis addedThis does not include the 131,975 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that was down from 152,419 the previous week.The following graph shows the 4-week

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Thursday: Retail Sales, Unemployment Claims, NY and Philly Fed Mfg, Industrial Production, Homebuilder Survey

3 days ago

Thursday:• At 8:30 AM ET, The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for a decrease to 720 thousand from 744 thousand last week.• Also at 8:30 AM, Retail sales for March is scheduled to be released.  The consensus is for a 5.5% increase in retail sales.  The consensus is probably low (given the stimulus checks).• Also at 8:30 AM, The New York Fed Empire State manufacturing survey for April. The consensus is for a reading of 18.2, up from 17.4.• Also at 8:30 AM, the Philly Fed manufacturing survey for April. The consensus is for a reading of 43.0, down from 51.8.• At 9:15 AM, The Fed will release Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for March. The consensus is for a 3.0% increase in Industrial Production, and for Capacity Utilization to

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Fed’s Beige Book: "Economic activity accelerated to a moderate pace"

3 days ago

Fed’s Beige Book "This report was prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas based on information collected on or before April 5, 2021."National economic activity accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April. Consumer spending strengthened. Reports on tourism were more upbeat, bolstered by a pickup in demand for leisure activities and travel which contacts attributed to spring break, an easing of pandemic-related restrictions, increased vaccinations, and recent stimulus payments among other factors. Auto sales grew, even as new-vehicle inventories remained constrained by microchip shortages. The picture in nonfinancial services generally improved, partly supported by strengthening demand for transportation, professional and business, and leisure and hospitality

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April 14th COVID-19 Vaccinations, New Cases, Hospitalizations

3 days ago

Note: I’m looking forward to not posting this daily! I’ve been posting this data daily for over a year, and I’ll stop once all three of these criteria are met:1) 70% of the population over 18 has had at least one dose of vaccine,2) new cases are under 5,000 per day, and3) hospitalizations are below 3,000.According to the CDC, 194.8 million doses have been administered. 29.6% of the population over 18 is fully vaccinated, and 47.6% of the population over 18 has had at least one dose (123.0 million people have had at least one dose).And check out COVID Act Now to see how each state is doing. Over 8,500 US deaths were reported so far in April due to COVID.Click on graph for larger image.This graph shows the daily (columns) 7 day average (line) of positive tests reported.Note: The ups and

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LA Area Port Traffic: Strong Imports in March

3 days ago

Note1: Import traffic was heavy in February and March – ships were backed up waiting to unload in LA. "some vessels are spending almost as much time at anchor as it takes to traverse the Pacific Ocean." They are still backed up in April!Note2: The expansion to the Panama Canal was completed in 2016 (As I noted a few years ago), and some of the traffic that used the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is probably going through the canal. This might be impacting TEUs on the West Coast.Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported – and usually some hints about the trade report since LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation’s container port traffic.The following graphs are for inbound and outbound traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long

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Houston Real Estate in March: Sales Up 32% YoY, Inventory Down 43% YoY

3 days ago

From the HAR: Forces Combine to Keep Houston Real Estate Hot in MarchA shortage of available homes priced at $250,000 and below combined with frenzied shopping among high-end homes produced a surge in pricing when compared to a Houston housing market in the grips of a pandemic-related lockdown a year earlier, in March 2020. Record low interest rates continued to fuel the buying bonanza. According to the latest Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) Market Update, single-family homes sales jumped 24.4 percent in March with 9,347 units sold versus 7,511 a year earlier. That marks the tenth straight positive month of sales. On a year-to-date basis, homes sales are running 16.9 percent ahead of 2020’s record pace….Sales of all property types totaled 11,692 – up 31.5 percent from March

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Over Two Years Ago, Professor Shiller wrote: "The Housing Boom Is Already Gigantic"

3 days ago

In December 2018, Professor Shiller wrote in the NY Times: The Housing Boom Is Already Gigantic. How Long Can It Last?We are, once again, experiencing one of the greatest housing booms in United States history.How long this will last and where it is heading next are impossible to know now.But it is time to take notice: My data shows that this is the United States’ third biggest housing boom in the modern era.I noted at the time that I wasn’t concerned. My analysis showed that the then current "boom" in prices (as of the end of 2018) was less or somewhat similar to the price booms of the late ’70s and late ’80s, and nothing like the "housing bubble".Since Shiller wrote that article in 2018, house prices have increased 16% nationally (from November 2018 to January 2021) according to the

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MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest Weekly Survey

3 days ago

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly SurveyMortgage applications decreased 3.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 9, 2021…. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 31 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 51 percent higher than the same week one year ago. Purchase and refinance applications declined, with most of the pullback coming earlier in the week when rates were higher. Treasury yields started last week high – close to

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Wednesday: Fed Chair Powell, Beige Book

4 days ago

Wednesday:• At 7:00 AM ET, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.• At 12:00 PM, Discussion, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Economic Club of Washington Interview, At the Economic Club of Washington (Watch Live)• At 2:00 PM, the Federal Reserve Beige Book, an informal review by the Federal Reserve Banks of current economic conditions in their Districts.

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April 13th COVID-19 Vaccinations, New Cases, Hospitalizations

4 days ago

Note: I’m looking forward to not posting this daily! I’ve been posting this data daily for over a year, and I’ll stop once all three of these criteria are met:1) 70% of the population over 18 has had at least one dose of vaccine,2) new cases are under 5,000 per day, and3) hospitalizations are below 3,000.According to the CDC, 192.3 million doses have been administered. 29.1% of the population over 18 is fully vaccinated, and 47% of the population over 18 has had at least one dose (121.4 million people have had at least one dose).And check out COVID Act Now to see how each state is doing. Almost 8,000 US deaths were reported so far in April due to COVID.Click on graph for larger image.This graph shows the daily (columns) 7 day average (line) of positive tests reported.Note: The ups and

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Second Home Market: South Lake Tahoe in March

4 days ago

Last month, from Jann Swanson at MortgageNewsDaily: Fannie Warns Lenders on Investment Properties and 2nd Homes. This action will result in higher interest rates on 2nd home and investment property mortgages.I’m looking at data for some second home markets – and will track those markets to see if there is an impact from the lending changes.This graph is for South Lake Tahoe since 2004 through March 2021, and shows inventory (blue), and the year-over-year change in the median price (12 month average). Note: The median price is distorted by the mix, but this is the available data. Click on graph for larger image.Following the housing bubble, prices declined for several years in South Lake Tahoe, with the median price falling about 50% from the bubble peak.Note that inventory was high

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South Carolina Real Estate in March: Sales Up 22% YoY, Inventory Down 54% YoY

4 days ago

Note: I’m tracking data for many local markets around the U.S. I think it is especially important to watch inventory this year.From the South Carolina Realtors for the entire state:Closed sales in March 2021 were 9,958, up 22.3% from 8,144 in March 2020.Active Listings in March 2021 were 12,754, down 53.8% from 27,624 in March 2020.Months of Supply was 1.4 Months in March 2021, compared to 3.4 Months in March 2020.

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Portland Real Estate in March: Sales Up 8% YoY, Inventory Down 54% YoY

4 days ago

Note: I’m tracking data for many local markets around the U.S. I think it is especially important to watch inventory this year.For Portland, OR:Closed sales in March 2021 were 2,556, up 8.5% from 2,356 in March 2020.Active Listings in March 2021 were 1,943, down 53.9% from 4,218 in March 2020.Months of Supply was 0.8 Months in March 2021, compared to 1.8 Months in March 2020.

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Cleveland Fed: Key Measures Show Small Uptick in Inflation in March

4 days ago

The Cleveland Fed released the median CPI and the trimmed-mean CPI this morning:According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% March. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index also rose 0.2% in March. "The median CPI and 16% trimmed-mean CPI are measures of core inflation calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland based on data released in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly CPI report".Note: The Cleveland Fed released the median CPI details for March here. Motor fuel was up 185% annualized in March. Click on graph for larger image.This graph shows the year-over-year change for these four key measures of inflation. On a year-over-year basis, the median CPI rose 2.0%, the trimmed-mean CPI rose 2.1%, and the CPI less food

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