Morning Report: Buy real estate, sell stocks and bonds 8/3/16

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2149.0 -4.0
Eurostoxx Index 334.7 -1.0
Oil (WTI) 39.9 0.4
US dollar index 86.3 -0.5
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.54%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103.3
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104.2
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.51

Stocks are lower this morning as oil and emerging markets move lower. Bonds and MBS are down.

Mortgage Applications fell 3.5% last week as purchases fell 2% and refis fell 4%. Rates fell a lot last week, but the biggest move was on Friday, so perhaps we’ll catch up this week.

The ADP payrolls report shows 179k jobs were created in July. Friday’s jobs report is looking for an increase of 185k. The number to watch on Friday isn’t so much payrolls, it is the increase in average hourly earnings.

Shades of the bubble years: Over 50% of all listings in San Francisco and Seattle end up selling for over the listing price. In Washington state, there is 2 month’s worth of inventory for sale and in California it is 2.5 months. A balanced market is 6.5 months.

Once bitten, twice shy. 2010 marks the peak of the foreclosures from the bubble years, and next year, the foreclosure black mark drops off their credit reports. So far, we are only seeing a gradual return to the real estate market.   Many borrowers are unaware that FHA is more forgiving than other programs – you can apply for a loan after 3.5 years with only 3.5% down and a 580 FICO.

Bill Gross is on the “buy real assets” versus financial assets bandwagon. He dislikes stocks and bonds here, and prefers real estate and gold. With sovereign debt, you are making the bet that inflation is never, ever coming back. Governments seem to be coming to a consensus that more fiscal stimulus is needed, and that should be bond bearish. Theoretically, companies should be investing in property, plant and equipment instead of buying back their own stock. This isn’t good for stock prices short term (and will drive the activists batty), but it is good long-term, provided these investments cover their cost of capital and aren’t just empire-building exercises. You want stock prices supported by a future earnings stream, not artificially low interest rates. Problem is, capacity utilization is already pretty low, so there isn’t much need for additional PP&E, at least at the moment.

While the chart below is complicated, it does suggest that real assets will outperform financial assets going forward. For most people, the biggest “real asset” is their home. With rental inflation still high, having your mortgage payment set for 30 years isn’t a bad deal at all.


Note both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are advocating fiscal stimulus packages. Post-Brexit UK is looking at taking that route as well. FWIW, the bond market is betting nothing comes of it.

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