Stocks are getting roughed up a little as overseas markets and oil continue to fall. Bonds and MBS are up sharply, with the 10 year trading just below 1.9%.
The ISM New York Index fell from 62 to 54.6 while the IBD / TIPP Economic Optimism Index ticked up slightly to 47.8.
The winners in Iowa last night were Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton. Unofficially, the winners were Rubio and Bernie. The losers? Donald Trump and the pollsters who had him in the high 40s. He came nowhere near that. Note that there are allegations of tomfoolery on the Democratic side with vote counting..
The correlation between global stock markets and the price of oil is somewhat strange – historically, high oil prices were considered bad for stocks, not good. While the drop in oil prices is certainly not good news for the big integrated energy companies, it is great news for consumers. Overall, the US benefits from low oil prices. The action in the stock market may be viewing the oil price as the canary in the coal mine for the global economy.
For the time being, the drop in commodities and stocks is keeping a lid on interest rates, which is a good thing for originators. The 10 year is heading back to late winter / early spring of 2015 lows. Fun fact, since the Fed raised the Fed Funds rate on December 16th, the 10 year bond yield has dropped 42 basis points. The trader in me says bond yields have fallen too far too fast. Loan officers, if you have someone floating, try and lock ’em. And wake up any potential borrowers who missed out on refinancing the last time around.
Delinquency rates continue to fall, according to Fannie Mae. In December, the seriously delinquent rate fell to 1.55% from 1.58% in November and 1.89% a year ago. Home price appreciation and an improving job market are doing their jobs.
With house price appreciation increasing well in excess of wage inflation, how affordable is housing these days? It depends on the statistic you use. If you look at the median house price versus the median income, you would conclude that housing affordability is approaching the lows of the bubble. However, if you look at the mortgage payment on the median house divided by median income, housing is at pre-bubble levels affordability-wise. Another argument to find people with ARMs and refi them in to 30 year fixed rate mortgages.
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