Morning Report – Existing Home Sales still weak 4/22/14

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Last Change Percent
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LIBOR 0.229 0.003 1.22%
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10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.74% 0.02%
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 105.2 0.0
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 104 -0.1
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 200.7 -0.2
BankRate 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.27

 

Markets are higher this morning on a blizzard of earnings reports and a couple major M&A transactions in the pharma space. Bonds and MBS are down.
The FHFA Home Price Index rose .6% month over month in February and is up just shy of 7% for the year. The FHFA Index only looks at homes with a conforming mortgage, so it is more of a central tendency index than, say Case Shiller.
Existing Home Sales were basically flat in March, coming in at 4.6 million. The median home price was up 7.4% year over year. Days on Market fell to 55 days from 62. First time homebuyers increased to 30% of transactions and all cash deals increased to 33%. For LOs that are discouraged by the death of the refi business, there is a bright side to these numbers. Investors are becoming less of a force in the market and the first time homebuyer is becoming more of one. Historically, existing home sales have been in the 5.2 million range. If we get back to historical run rates and all cash buyers go back to their historical levels of 20%, that means the gettable purchase business will increase 35%. (5.2 million * 80% with a mortgage) = 4.16 million gettable loans. Current situation: 4.6 million * 67% = 3.08 million.
Chart:  Existing Home Sales:

Image

44 Responses

  1. Folks are getting slow–two days in a row!

    Frist. . .

    Like

  2. Brent, did you see this opinion piece in the WaPo? What do you think? The comments are pretty scathing.

    Like

    • SCOTUS rules that states can ban racially discriminatory practices in public university admissions and hiring practices. That this was even an open question is rather astonishing to me, but most depressingly we have two sitting justices on SCOTUS who apparently believe that the banning of racial discrimination is itself racially discriminatory and hence barred by the equal protection clause.

      Truly twilight zone thinking by our self-described “wise latina” and her equally confused co-signer.

      Like

  3. Banned would make that argument all the time. I think that once you factor in rent as an alternative, it’s not as obviously bad financially especially at current mortgage rates.

    Buying as an investment may be dicey, but if the difference between renting and buying is a couple of hundred dollars a month, I still think buying makes more sense.

    Like

  4. What kind of dog are you? Below are my results. This is the kind of internet crap I do now instead of reading the WaPo……………………….LOL. One of these days I’ll get back into politics but I’m just not ready yet!

    GREAT DANE
    You’re genuinely humble and that makes you stand out in a crowded room. Everyone looks up to you and you’re extremely smart, but you’re still approachable due to your warm demeanor. Your elegance and class can sometimes make others feel humbled, but it’s never intentional. You’re the Great Dane, the kind ruler of your world.

    http://bitecharge.com/post_dog-quiz_h5.html

    Like

  5. I would draw a distinction between speculating on real estate and owning a home to live in.

    Unless you have an ARM, your monthly payment will stay the same for 30 years. With renting, you have to deal with increases every year. Being able to lock in your monthly housing cost for 30 years is worth something.

    The tax deductibility of mortgage interest, the leverage provided by real estate, and the fact that I am able to borrow money from the government for 30 years at 3.75% is too good to pass up.

    Her argument about negative externalites (sprawl, gasoline) made no sense. You are still going to drive to the supermarket and commute whether you rent or buy. Maybe you have less of a carbon footprint if you live in Manhattan or DC, but otherwise it seems to me to be the same.

    Also, when looking at the stock market indices, you have to take into account survivorship bias.

    Like

  6. Great Dane as well.

    I’m not too sure about the accuracy of that quiz! 🙂

    Like

  7. Truly twilight zone thinking by our self-described “wise latina” and her equally confused co-signer.

    You’re Privilege is showing.

    Like

  8. The PL post on the SC case captures the thinking that de jure remedies are appropriate to counter “a system that places obstacles in their particular path” of minorities. I don’t see a system per se that’s actively discriminating (ala Jim Crow), but rather a variety of individual circumstances at play for everyone.

    Edit: PL piece being referenced:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/04/22/the-supreme-court-and-the-reality-of-racial-preferences/

    This Slate piece was an interesting analysis of the origins of affirmative action.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/history/features/2014/the_liberal_failure_on_race/affirmative_action_it_s_time_for_liberals_to_admit_it_isn_t_working.html

    Like

    • jnc:

      This Slate piece was an interesting analysis of the origins of affirmative action.

      What I found interesting was the way in which the author speaks of the black community as if it has been and is little more than a controllable and controlled subject of social manipulation, simply responding to various external stimuli applied by both well-meaning and evil white people/institutions. Blacks, apparently, have neither any control over nor any responsibility for their own fate.

      Like

    • jnc:

      From the PL piece you linked:

      After the initiative in Michigan passed in 2006, black enrollment at the University of Michigan plunged by 30 percent. Were the missing black students lacking in “merit,” and was the university better for their absence?

      The latter question depends on establishing a metric for “better”, which would be rather subjective. But as for the former question, the answer is undeniably “yes”, at least as “merit” is defined by the university itself.

      Like

  9. I dropped in a couple of comments on that PL thread and the paranoia is thick. It’s getting to the point that being to the right of, say, Dezzie is life-threatening.

    I think that’s my last visit to PL until HHR goes up.

    EDIT: Link fixed–thanks, NoVA!

    Like

  10. bad link, Michi.

    have you verified your address over there. i’m thinking it’s not worth the effort

    Like

  11. bad link, Michi

    Fixed. Thanks–I forgot to check it after posting.

    Yes, I verified my address because (1) now I’m getting the Sunday WaPo (a year for $19.99! Worth every penny!), and (2) there are still folks over there that I like to talk to (fewsuch, for instance). I find myself more and more only going to HHR and the weekend open threads, though.

    I had to jump through the hoop a couple of times, but it eventually verified. They’ve got some poor soul (Greg Barber) dropping in on all of the blog threads today checking to see if anyone is still having problems. I think he must have the most thankless job at WaPo today.

    Like

  12. Scott, I think a lot of the tenor of the arguments in favor of affirmative action and against say the SAT have an undercurrent of “It’s not fair that students who aren’t prepared for college due to their backgrounds aren’t able to go to college”.

    It misses the entire point of the SAT as a predictive exercise and a tool to allocate a scarce resource (i.e. college entrance slots). If the “cultural bias” of the SAT means that some people do better than others due to say the vocabulary used in the questions, that’s also borne out in their actual first year grades when the same vocabulary is used on the actual reading assignments.

    The ironic thing of course is that the SAT was originally intended as a leveling device to help counter systemic bias and provided a more objective assessment of the applicant’s merit.

    The general statement on the SAT is that it’s very good at predicting the results of the first year of undergraduate study and from what I’ve seen, that’s been borne out by all the studies that have actually been done on it.

    Like

    • jnc:

      The general statement on the SAT is that it’s very good at predicting the results of the first year of undergraduate study and from what I’ve seen, that’s been borne out by all the studies that have actually been done on it.

      I think I remember seeing a study out of California showing that racial preferences were setting blacks up for failure, elevating black applicants into more competitive schools than their SATs scores would otherwise have merited, resulting in a significantly higher dropout rate for blacks.

      Like

  13. “ScottC, on April 22, 2014 at 12:08 pm said:

    jnc:

    This Slate piece was an interesting analysis of the origins of affirmative action.

    What I found interesting was the way in which the author speaks of the black community as if it has been and is little more than a controllable and controlled subject of social manipulation, simply responding to various external stimuli applied by both well-meaning and evil white people/institutions.”

    I’ve actually become somewhat more sympathetic to that argument as a result of reading some of Ta-Nehisi Coate’ pieces in the Atlantic on how housing discrimination by the FHA was intentional government policy as part of the New Deal and afterwards.

    “The Ghetto Is Public Policy
    In Chicago, black people were pariahs whom no one wanted to live around. The housing authority turned that prejudice into full-blown racism.
    Ta-Nehisi Coates Mar 19 2013, 10:45 AM ET

    In the interest of racism, the American taxpayer ended up bankrolling a massive fraud perpetrated on black communities in Chicago.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/03/the-ghetto-is-public-policy/274147/

    Edit: See also:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/02/the-ghetto-public-policy-and-the-jewish-exception/273592/

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/the-ghetto-is-public-policy/275456/

    From my perspective, this makes me even more of a libertarian if the intentional result of government policy is to foster active discrimination.

    It’s also a key reason why I consider Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) to probably be the worst Supreme Court decision of my life time. Anyone who is concerned with the poor and minorities should be well aware that when real estate developers can get the local government to take someone’s house and give it to them, it’s not going to be rich white people who are getting kicked out on the street.

    Edit 2:

    Megan McArdle on this:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/28/how-good-principles-can-make-bad-rules.html

    Like

  14. “ScottC, on April 22, 2014 at 10:48 am said:

    SCOTUS rules that states can ban racially discriminatory practices in public university admissions and hiring practices. That this was even an open question is rather astonishing to me, but most depressingly we have two sitting justices on SCOTUS who apparently believe that the banning of racial discrimination is itself racially discriminatory and hence barred by the equal protection clause.”

    Justice Scalia has you covered:

    “JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE THOMAS joins, concurring in the judgment.

    It has come to this. Called upon to explore the jurisprudential twilight zone between two errant lines of precedent, we confront a frighteningly bizarre question: Does the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbid what its text plainly requires? Needless to say (except that this case obliges us to say it), the question answers itself.”

    http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/politics/supreme-court-decision-schuette-v-coalition-to-defend-affirmative-action/966/?hpid=z1

    Like

    • jnc:

      Justice Scalia has you covered:

      Hah. I swear I hadn’t read his opinion before I posted.

      BTW, it is instructive that Sotomayor and Ginsberg can’t even answer correctly questions that answer themselves.

      Like

  15. And now for something completely different.

    Post 2nd wave feminists vs Marxists on organizing sex workers:

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/04/katha-pollitts-quality-control/

    I’m siding with the Marxists on this one:

    “The nature of a product is irrelevant to how we should theorize, legislate, or organize the labor involved in producing it.”

    Like

    • jnc:

      I’m siding with the Marxists on this one

      Reading marxist claptrap like this is almost unbearable, even if she is on the correct side of a narrowly defined debate. It boggles the mind that any adult actually thinks such things, like that it is merely a “wage system”, and not the nature of reality itself, that “forces people to work under threat of poverty and homelessness”. It’s a child’s mentality.

      Like

  16. The real question is should they all earn the same rate? Also, what about the government as Pimp, Municipal, State or Federal? Who has the stronger Pimp hand?

    Yo?

    Like

  17. Check out:

    “Eleven Things You Didn’t Know About Clarence Thomas
    4.20.14
    by Corey Robin”

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/04/eleven-things-you-didnt-know-about-clarence-thomas/

    Best one there:

    “So, if we care to know who the “unknown” Justice Thomas is, the answer is as provocative as it is obvious from his opinions. He is, quite simply, Clarence X—a jurist who is not only a constitutionalist, but a black nationalist as well.”

    http://www.law.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/ECM_PRO_064799.pdf

    Like

  18. This,

    Is referencing this,

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/04/21/mcdonald_s_and_me_my_fight_to_end_gendered_happy_meal_toys.html

    Fair question, is McDonald’s or Chick Fil A History’s Greatest Monster?

    Cause a this,

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5120387

    Like

  19. I lost a client today. Not the work. Like, literally. I turned around and she was gone. turned out she decided to go to a different meeting. things we could have discussed last week, this morning, anytime before we go into the meeting.

    Like

  20. NoVA:

    My Anacostia story. I was driving down to DC to meet Brent for dinner (yes, our Brent) and got off 495 on an exit that I thought that I knew were it went. It turns out that I do know where it goes. . . except for construction. So I’m driving around, trying to get to a place where I can see the Capitol and/or the Washington Monument. Getting into an increasingly er, “iffy” part of town.

    So I call a friend who knows DC like the back of his hand and told him what street I was on (if I remember right, it was 4th St SE); he asked the cross street and I said “Martin Luther King”. His response was, “OK. That’s a good place for you to get murdered, so let’s get you out of there.”

    He navigated me out of there to New York Ave and I drove happily off to a lovely dinner with Brent. I was talking to him a couple of days later and I said, “you were kidding about the getting murdered part, right?”

    Like

  21. “”You know what’s sad? Martin Luther King stood for non violence. And I don’t care where you are in America, if you’re on Martin Luther King Boulevard, there’s some violence going down.” -Chris Rock

    http://www.hark.com/clips/swxzmbndkj-martin-luther-king-boulevard

    Like

  22. That was pretty close to his answer, yello!

    Like

  23. Scalia had another blunt line later in his concurrence about moving from the appalling to the absurd — nice transition. Concur with every insult aimed at the two wrongheaded dissenters. I’m really just tired of trying to be civil about such patent nonsense. That dissent is straight-up racist. They want straight, white males to be discriminated against. All the justifications they want to offer amount to yadda yadda yadda. Their rationalizations and excuses are absurdities, as Scalia said.

    If people knew just how biased and unjust “affirmative action” policies really are, most would be outraged. I have shared these stats before. When I applied to law schools, the odds of admission to Yale Law School of a white male with a 4.0 GPA, valedictorian of a selective college, and a “perfect” LSAT were less than 6% according to Yale’s own published stats. Harvard was similar. A minority applicant, according to those same stats, would have been an automatic admit with a GPA in the low 3s and LSAT probably anywhere above 50%. If anything, it is worse today. It isn’t just a nudge here or there; it is grossly disparate treatment and rejection of vastly more deserving and qualified applicants on a large scale. That is undeniable fact, and no one can ever tell me there is anything fair or just or good for society about it. Anyone who says it isn’t a quota system is pulling your leg, to be kind.

    Like

  24. Why is it ok for schools to discriminate against Asians?

    Like

  25. It is only okay to discriminate against Asians in favor of those farther up the scale of certified, oppressed victimhood.

    Like

  26. It’s hard not to think this “conversation” on race really is a lecture about how horrible whitey was, is and always will be and the only proper answer is too shut up and shut up.

    The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.

    What else could she mean?

    Like

  27. Wow is that PL column brazen. He basically admits the decision is right, then smears Roberts for it. What a piece of garbage.

    Like

  28. The “logic” of the dissent–really the logic of the “political process doctrine” itself–is complete failure. They try to argue that it is fine with them if those who support AA lose, just that they can’t be allowed to be defeated at a level higher than one at which they might otherwise have won. Think about how ludicrous that reasoning is. Suppose the legislature passed a state law doing exactly the same thing. Well gosh, that would also foreclose people from trying to get a particular university or university system to adopt AA. So it would have to be “unconstitutional” as well. Suppose a prohibition on AA were put in a university’s charter or by-laws. Again, proponents of AA migh otherwise have had a chance to “win” at a lower level of “democracy.”

    Their reasoning amounts to the assertion that it is unfair for the majority against AA to prevail in any way other than through whatever the “lowest” level of democratic governance is. And who knows what that even would be.

    Like

    • qb:

      Total aside, but in reading Scalia’s opinion I note – yet again – the court’s (or, in this case, Scalia’s and Thomas’) recognition of state sovereignty the existence of which Mark denies.

      By contrast, in another line of cases, we have emphasized the near-limitless sovereignty of each State to design its governing structure as it sees fit.

      And…

      It is “a strange notion—alien to our system—that local governmental bodies can forever pre-empt the ability of a State — the sovereign power — to address a matter of compelling concern to the State.”

      Like

      • Scott, I am not sure I understand Mark’s view on state sovereignty, but I think Scalia is making a point related to what I was describing as the incoherency of the idea that the state can reject AA but just not at the state level. It is absurd.

        Like

        • Most of Mark’s comments on the matter have come in the context of discussions about secession, and his insistence that as a legal/constitutional matter a seceding state must get the permission of congress to secede, and that it was the design of the constitution as originally crafted that makes it so. My interpretation of Mark’s position is that he thinks that states retain only those very limited powers specifically granted by the constitution or those the fed allows them to exercise. I think the exact opposite, ie that under the constitution as originally (and properly) understood, it is actually the federal government that retains only those limited powers explicitly granted by the constitution, and all other powers not mentioned are reserved to the states.

          Mark’s thoughts can be found here, here, and here, with the surrounding comments providing context.

          Like

        • The right for states to secede seems to be a hot topic. the Wisconsin Republican party is thinking of passing a resolution affirming that right.

          http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/noquarter/state-gop-gets-to-vote-on-secession-at-convention-b99246196z1-255113211.html

          “If that’s crazy talk,” [Michael Murphy, vice chairman of the Republican Party’s 4th Congressional District] said, “I would be happy to carry that as a badge of honor.”

          Like

  29. I wonder if Mark’s argument is that while the law may indicate State sovereignty reality demonstrates it is not sovereign.

    Like

  30. jnc and I are having dinner together tonight. I expect we’ll solve the secession dilemma.

    Like

  31. There are few less controversial propositions of constitutional law than that states retain all powers not delegated to the federal government, and not the reverse. As Troll notes, that accepted principle may be more or less reversed in practice, as permitted by the lawless Supreme Court. I think that probably isn’t what Mark is saying.

    Mark’s point that secession would strip citizens of US citizenship is interesting but falsely premised, it seems to me. I don’t see why secession would necessarily strip citizenship. More likely in this highly hypothetical scenario, citizens would be given a choice. Even if they weren’t, to say that the right to secede is barred by the right of citizens not to be removed from the US by referendum of some sort seems to me a circular argument. It becomes a more basic question of political legitimacy. Why isn’t the citizen who doesn’t support secession nevertheless bound by the majority or supermajority vote to secede?

    As a side note, I find it remarkable that those most opposed to the idea that states can secede are often those most opposed to the idea that the Constitution has any binding force to begin with (Mark not being one of them, however).

    Edit: I also don’t see why in the event of a state’s decision to secede the federal government would have some obligation to protect its citizens from the decision.

    Like

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