Morning Report: Pending Home Sales fall 4/27/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2385.0 2.8
Eurostoxx Index 387.6 -1.2
Oil (WTI) 48.7 -0.9
US dollar index 89.7  
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.31%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 102.63
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.68
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.98

Stocks are mixed this morning as markets digest the ECB non-move. Bonds and MBS are down small.

Pending Home Sales fell 0.8% in March as tight inventory reduced transactions. On a YOY basis, they are up 0.8%, as February was an unusually strong number. NAR chief economist, says sparse inventory levels caused a pullback in pending sales in March, but activity was still strong enough to be the third best in the past year. “Home shoppers are coming out in droves this spring and competing with each other for the meager amount of listings in the affordable price range,” he said. “In most areas, the lower the price of a home for sale, the more competition there is for it. That’s the reason why first-time buyers have yet to make up a larger share of the market this year, despite there being more sales overall.”

Durable Goods orders rose 0.7% in March, lower than the 1.1% estimate. Ex transportation and defense, they rose 0.1%. Capital Goods orders, which is a good proxy for business capital investment, rose 1.2%. Yet another data point where the hard data isn’t confirming the buoyant soft data.

Initial Jobless Claims rose slightly to 257k last week, while retail inventories rose 0.4% and wholesale inventories fell 0.1%. The consumer comfort index edged up as well.

Regular readers of this blog know I have been discussing the post-Trump interest rate sell-off for months. I lay out the full case in the latest issue of the Scotsman Guide: Finding Comfort in History. I discuss why the Fed might not move 3 times this year (because they have invariably been high in their GDP estimates), why a 75 basis point move in the Fed Funds rate won’t necessarily translate into a 75 basis point hike in mortgage rates (because the yield curve usually flattens), and why the end of QE reinvestment won’t have a dramatic effect on mortgage rates.

Trump’s tax plan which was unveiled yesterday was really more of a guidance to Congress than an actual plan. FWIW, legislation originates in Congress, not the White House, so it is unrealistic to expect a detailed, CBO-scoreable plan. That said, we know that the basis plan will be to reduce the number of tax brackets, lower the rates, increase the standard deduction, and to limit itemized deductions. What does that mean for real estate? Nobody knows for sure, but the National Association of Realtors is weighing in already, urging the government to maintain the mortgage interest deduction and the state / local tax deductions. Trump’s plan will probably ding upper middle class homeowners in high tax states the hardest.

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