Morning Report – A generation of renters? 6/24/15

Markets are lower after Greek Prime Minister Tsipras expressed shock that his proposals still do not go far enough to get a deal. Bonds and MBS are up.

Mortgage Applications rose 1.6% last week as purchases rose 1.2% and refis rose 1.8%.

The third revision to first quarter GDP came in at -0.2%. This is an upward revision from the previous -0.7% estimate. A combination of harsh weather, a West Coast port strike, and a slowdown in the oil patch depressed growth. Lower gas prices still are not translating into higher spending at the malls, however. Consumers continue to save / repay debt.

Greece was handed new terms for a bailout. The proposals Tspiras provided do not go far enough, and he took to Twitter to harangue the IMF and the EU. Brave new world: negotiating and posturing via Twitter. “There is still a lot of work to do,” Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs meetings of his euro-area counterparts, told reporters in Brussels. “We are not there yet.”

Homeownership levels have fallen back to the levels of the early 90s. Millennials are renting in droves. Is this the new face of homownership, or simply the pendulum overcorrecting on the other side? While house prices are back in bubblicious territory (primarily due to a lack of inventory), rates are so low that mortgage payments are still comparable to rents.

Speaking of lack of inventory, homebuilding giant Lennar reported earnings this morning, beating the Street. Revenues increased 30% as deliveries increased 21% and ASPs increased to $348,000. New orders increased 18% in units as well. The stock is up about 5% pre-open. Could housing be the new engine for the economy? Hopefully, as manufacturing seems to be going through a soft patch.

Washington is alleging discrimination in REO, saying that homes in low-income neighborhoods are not being properly maintained. The problem in many of these place, especially in the rust belt, is that the opportunities are so sparse that people are moving out, and no one is moving in. When you have a net outflow of people and an endless supply of vacant houses, these properties become basically worthless. And what bank wants to throw good money after bad maintaining a house that probably will never sell in the first place?

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