Morning Report: Existing home sales rise 4/20/16

Stocks and bonds are flattish this morning on no real news.

Mortgage Applications rose 1.3% last week as purchases fell 0.5% and refis rose 2.6%.

Existing Home Sales rose 5.1% MOM to 5.33 million in March. The median home price rose 5.7% to $222,700. This puts the median house price to median income ratio at 3.9x, which is higher than its historical range in the 3.2x – 3.6x. There are 4.5 months’ worth of inventory, which was an uptick from the 4.4 months’ worth in February. Days on market fell to 47 however. Sales slowed at the $1 million + price points, which could be a reflection of the global economic slowdown. The number of first time homebuyers was steady at 30%. Historically, that number has been closer to 40%.

Given the weak housing starts data and the existing home sales data, we aren’t getting the breakout spring selling season that some had hoped for. We should get some important data points tomorrow when we get earnings results out of Pulte and Horton.

The weakness in housing starts remains a conundrum, given the demand for housing. Builders have pointed to a shortage of labor, but as Goldman Sachs points out, you aren’t seeing increases in wages in the construction sector, at least not yet. Interestingly, the average age of a construction worker is the highest ever, as young people are not entering the sector. The other issue: regulations, and lots of them. You would think that government would be interested in seeing more housing construction, because that is the difference between 2% and 3% GDP growth, but the only discussion of housing these days revolves around how hard to slug the originators.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won convincingly in NY last night.

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