Morning Report: Existing Home Sales fall 7/24/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2468.0 -1.3
Eurostoxx Index 378.9 -1.3
Oil (WTI) 46.1 0.3
US dollar index 86.4 -0.1
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.24%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103.31
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104.375
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.96

Stocks are lower this morning as earnings continue to come in. Bonds and MBS are flat.

The big event this week will be the FOMC meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. No change in rates is expected, however the language in the statement always has the potential to move markets, so just be aware. We will have some important data, especially in housing, as well as GDP this Friday. No data this morning, however.

Affordable housing advocates will be spending the week marching and discussing the need for more affordable housing, as well as advocating for no cuts the HUD’s budget. The biggest proposed cut to HUD involves the Community Development Block Grant program, which famously funds Meals on Wheels, but is in reality just funds pet projects in various districts, especially in the counties surrounding DC.

The Fed will probably discuss tapering this week, which concerns letting its portfolio of bonds bought during quantitative easing to mature. The European Central Bank is also contemplating doing something similar. While there is concern that tapering will push up longer-term interest rates, these are probably overblown. Certainly QE did not affect mortgage backed spreads much at all, and tapering will be a fraction of what full-blown QE was.

Existing Home Sales dropped 1.8% in June as tight inventory is driving up prices and affecting affordability. The median home price increased 6.5% to $263,800. This puts the median house price to median income ratio at about 4.4x, which is elevated. That ratio peaked at 4.8x during the bubble, and fell to 3.3x during the bust years. Historically that number has been in the 3.2x-3.6x range, although you have to correct for interest rates, which does affect affordability. You can see the index of home prices versus incomes diverging again.

Total housing inventory fell to 1.96 million units, which represents a 4.3 month supply. A balanced market is usually around 6 month’s worth. Affordability concerns also hurt the first time homebuyer, who fell to 32% of sales, down from a 33% the prior month. All cash sales were down to 18% from 22% the year prior. The REO to rental trade might be driving that as professional investors stop buying. In fact, pros should be looking at selling – prices are elevated.

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