Partisan sentiment surveys are partisan 12/7/16

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2209.0 -1.0
Eurostoxx Index 346.3 2.0
Oil (WTI) 50.4 -0.5
US dollar index 91.1 0.0
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.37%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.1

Markets are flattish this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are up small as global bonds rally on speculation the ECB will continue buying bonds into next September.

Mortgage applications fell 0.7% last week as purchases rose 0.4% and refis fell 1%.

Job Openings were little changed at 5.5 million last month, according the JOLTs job openings report. Job openings are more or less at the all-time highs of the index, which goes back to 2000. The quits rate is the key to the report: an increasing quits rate foreshadows wage inflation. So far, the quits rate is pretty much stuck at 2.1%.

Appraisals are coming in light for about 10% – 13% of all contract prices. This is mainly a problem in the hot markets where low inventory is creating bidding wars and buyers overpay.

Sentiment surveys are partisan to some extent. Prior to the election, Republicans were bearish on the housing market and Democrats were bullish. Now that Donald Trump has won, the parties have switched outlooks. It shows why you should generally take these sentiment surveys with a grain of salt. That said, the fundamentals of the housing market are strong with tight inventory and low rates (despite the Fed being in a tightening cycle).

Gallup’s Job Creation Index ticked up last week to 33, which means the percentage of firms planning to increase hiring minus the percentage of firms planning to cut jobs is 33%. Note that this is based on a telephone survey of workers, who may or may not know what their company’s actual plans are.

The post-election sell-off in the bond market has cut the refinanceable population in half, according to Black Knight Financial Services. The last time the refinanceable population was this small, refis were 37% below last quarter’s. The new rules on VA IRRLs will exacerbate that drop in refi volume. Going forward refi volume will be driven more by home price appreciation as people with mortgage rates from they heyday regain the home equity to refinance at today’s rates. Also, with the Fed tightening, now is a good time to look at swapping out from an ARM to a 30 year fixed. If the 35 year bull market in bonds is really finally over, locking in a low rate makes sense.

Mortgage credit availability improved last month according the the MBA. Credit availability increased for all 4 buckets: government, conventional, conforming, and jumbo. While the index has doubled since 2012, it is still at about 20% of the level set during the height of the bubble. It probably won’t increase meaningfully until either (a) the private label market returns, or (b) the government and GSEs increase the credit box.

It is no secret that the real estate sector is still largely done the way it has been for the past 50 years, with agents representing buyers and sellers, along with a largely manual loan process. Now a new firm is looking to use technology to disintermediate realtors. They pay realtors a 1% fee, and the company has just raised $20 million in Series B financing. Its name is Roofstock. It is a niche market – targeting sellers of tenant-occupied properties – however it could catch on.

17 Responses

  1. One thing about the election, the media’s role as an actual participant in politics is clearer than ever:

    “How journalists are shaping the way Americans understand contemporary white nationalism
    New rules don’t leave room for much confusion about the “alt-right.”
    Updated by Jenée Desmond-Harris
    Dec 7, 2016, 9:20am EST ”

    I’d actually change the title to

    “How journalists are discrediting the media with half the country by taking explicit sides”


  2. “One thing about the election, the media’s role as an actual participant in politics is clearer than ever”

    Yup. I blame Woodward and Bernstein. Every journalist, in their heart of hearts, now imagines themselves as a young Dustin Hoffman or Robert Redford, taking down the Republican president du jour with one hand while accepting their Pulitzer with the other.

    Another title: “How Mainstream Media is Normalizing Fake News”.

    Get ready for lots more articles where the main theme will be “how everybody who disagrees with us is a White Nationalist”.

    Recently had a legit white nationalist (or “racial realist”) type spamming the boards on the No Agenda forum on Facebook.

    These folks can’t help themselves. Watch the Richard Spencer video. They don’t hide. They can’t. They’re obsessed with telling people about the threat everything under the sun poses to the white male, and can barely compose a paragraph without explaining how all progress in history has been made by European white men, of which it is merely a coincidence they consider themselves to be one of. The dog whistles are loud and obvious and are usually followed up with explicitly racist content. They mostly come across as bitter and frustrated and angry and unable to participate in normal social situations in a normal way. With a few exceptions of folks who can get it together enough to pay themselves for being “the head of a movement”, they work in low paying jobs that don’t require a lot of emotional intelligence or social interoperability.

    They also frequently use the term “cuck”. If you disagree with them, on anything, you are clearly a “socialist cuck liberal who hasn’t been woke yet”.

    It’s not the basis for a broad movement. It’s not the population of Brietbart, it’s not Steve Bannon or General Mattis or Flynn.

    These are you White Nationalists: people who can barely hold their lives together, and whose mental disfunction and ADHD and OCD problems (or wherever they fall on the autism spectrum) make them blurt out “immigration is white genocide!” in what should be a normal conversation, like they’ve got Tourettes.

    It’s a conglomeration of mentally deficient people that can’t properly socialize that are able, barely, to coordinate over social media and make themselves look like there’s way more of them than there are.


  3. More fodder for Steve Pearlstein’s theory of Trump trying to change business behavior via the bully pulpit.

    “Trump takes aim at drug companies: ‘I don’t like what has happened with drug prices’
    By Carolyn Y. Johnson
    December 7 at 10:40 AM

    “Historically, a lot of manufacturers have increased the prices of their products at the beginning of the year,” Fein said. “I think that president-elect Trump is trying to send a message to sort of encourage manufacturers to not take their usual price increases. . . . He may be trying to use his bully pulpit to signal, ‘you should change the system’ — without necessarily saying how he’s going to change the system, or what should be done.””

    Looking forward to the PL piece trying to spin why this is a bad thing.


    • For a movement built on public shaming, like the puritaians they are, they’d sure don’t seem to be able to recognize it


  4. Day 30 of the PL meltdown.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kevin Williamson hits on exactly why I rejected Trump, and why the meltdown of the left is so insane.

    “Progressive” is a funny word. It is what the self-consciously center-left element in American politics started calling itself after the word “liberal” was made into a term of abuse by the center-right element in American politics, which is made up mainly of liberals. Funny little eccentricities of the language: There are among our so-called liberal Democrats few surviving liberals and a rapidly declining number of democrats. And, thanks to the efforts of such excellent gentlemen as Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Beck in explaining the ugly history of American progressivism, “progressive” has become a term of abuse, too, especially on the talk-radio/cable-news right, which is why some people get so very upset when you point out that Donald Trump is a progressive.


    • That opposition, however, is not rooted in deep disagreements over policy or ideology but in pure tribalism.

      Exactly. That they are incapable of seeing this, at all, tends to contradict their general view of themselves as the smartest people in the room, nuanced, full of subtlety and deep understanding. They are cheering their favorite sportsball team and trash talking the other sportsball team. And then append that “facts have a liberal bias”, using the words as a catechism as if just saying them makes them true and thus validates their naked tribalism.

      Donald Trump thinks that free-trade deals are depressing American wages and that an “open borders” immigration regime is the work of Wall Street and big-business interests trying to undermine the American working class. So does Bernie Sanders. Trump, sitting on his golden toilet on Fifth Avenue, somehow emerged as the tribune of the rural working classes, while Sanders, who represents one of the whitest and most rural states, was the favorite of urban cosmopolitans — which is weird enough, but consider that they did it while pushing policy agendas that were substantially identical in many fundamental ways.

      And, again, it’s interesting that those who insist they are the intelligentsia, while the rest of the country is a bunch of hayseed hicks and neonazis, don’t seem to see it.

      Rather, the point is to establish the opposite: Progressivism is not a set of cultural inclinations but a body of public-policy views, mainly economic, along with related assumptions about the role and capacities of government. The contemporary Left’s attempt to define “conservative” as bigotry and “progressivism” as liberation from such bigotry is juvenile, and it is historically illiterate.

      Yup. There’s those facts completely unburdened with any visible liberal bias again.

      Here is the only party I disagree with:

      He may talk like Archie Bunker, but politically he is Barack Obama rebranded for talk radio

      I don’t think he’s Barack Obama rebranded for talk radio. I think he’ll be a lot more interested in catering to flyover country, and using public shaming for companies, and in making big gestures about his abhorrence of government waste. I agree he is a progressive but I don’t think he’s going to be progressive the same way, in the same categories, as Barack Obama was.

      I think the larger question is if the general public will notice his progressivism, as approve, versus the vast majority of the media, who likely will never manage either.


  6. Trump’s favorability now at 50%.

    Who wants to bet his favorables will be up and his negatives down even more next time the same poll is taken?


Be kind, show respect, and all will be right with the world.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: