Morning Report: Home prices are stretched versus incomes again 7/21/16

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2173.0 9.0
Eurostoxx Index 339.4 2.0
Oil (WTI) 44.9 -0.2
US dollar index 88.0 0.2
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.62%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103.3
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104.2
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.52

Markets are higher this morning after the ECB hinted at further stimulus down the road. Bonds and MBS are down.

The Fed Funds futures are now pricing in a 47% chance of 1 more rate hike this year. That probability was 20% about 10 days ago. That is what has been driving the 10 year yield back up.

We have a bunch of economic data this morning.

Existing home sales rose 1.1% to an annual pace of 5.57 million, according to the NAR. This is up 3% YOY, and is the highest level since February 2007. All regions except the Northeast reported an increase. The median home price rose 4.8% to $247,700. This puts the median home price to median income ratio at 4.3x, which is extended versus its historical range of 3.2x – 3.6x. Of course interest rates are influencing this as well, but it looks like home prices are beginning to run a little too far, too fast. Below is a chart of incomes versus home prices, indexed back to 1975. This doesn’t really speak to bubble behavior – it speaks to the caution out of the homebuilders who are reluctant to add supply. The current inventory of houses for sale is about 4.6 month’s worth, while a balanced market is about 6.5 months.

 

Median house price to median income indexed

 

Initial Jobless Claims slipped 1,000 to 253k last week. We should be seeing an increase given this is the season for re-tooling factories, however we aren’t, and we are hitting all-time lows for initial jobless claims, which goes back to the 1960s. To put it in perspective, the last time initial jobless claims were around these levels, we had a military draft.

House prices rose 0.2% month-over-month in May and are up 5.2% YOY, according to the FHFA House Price Index. The East Coast continues to lag while the Left Coast is still hitting high single digit YOY appreciation. The index as a whole has recouped all of the losses from the real estate bust. Remember, the FHFA House Price index only looks at houses with a conforming mortgage, so it ignores the extremes of both ends of the spectrum – distressed and jumbo.

The Philly Fed index fell to -2.9 while the Chicago Fed National Activity Index rebounded to +.15. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index slipped again to 42.9, while the Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose to 0.3%.

PulteGroup announced earnings this morning, beating estimates and announcing a new value creation plan. They will buy back up to $1.5 billion in stock over the next 18 months, and reduce land investment. This is a bit of a surprise given that revenues increased 41%, and average selling prices increased 11%. Pulte has been targeting the first time homebuyer pretty aggressively, and given the pent-up demand, they probably should be investing in the business instead of buying back stock.

D.R. Horton also announced this morning, with earnings coming in line with expectations. Revenues increased 9% and earnings increased 13%.

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