Morning Report: Housing starts disappoint 8/16/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2468.0 4.3
Eurostoxx Index 379.3 2.8
Oil (WTI) 47.7 0.2
US dollar index 86.7 0.1
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.28%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103.09
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.97
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.88

Stocks are higher this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are down.

The big event of the day will be the release of the FOMC minutes at 2:00 pm EST. The Street will be looking for more info on how the Fed plans to wind down its QE portfolio. Investors will also be parsing the statement for clues regarding the Fed’s stance on the current status of low inflation. While inflation remains low if measured against the Fed’s inflation target, we are starting to see wage inflation. The hawks on the Committee will push to get ahead of that, while the doves (like Yellen) will prefer to let the labor market “run hot” for a while. The minutes will probably not be market-moving, but just be aware if you are locking around that time.

The minutes will be interesting given the recent GDP forecasts out of the Atlanta Fed, which have Q3 growth coming in at 3.7%, and are predicting a much stronger second half to the year. You could really start to see a battle between the hawks and the doves. The Fed Funds futures contracts are still predicting no move in September and a 50-50 chance of a hike in December.

Mortgage Applications fell 0.1% last week as purchases fell 2% and refis increased 2%. Mortgage rates continue to tick lower, with the 30 year fixed rate mortgage down to 4.14%, the lowest since November.

Housing starts disappointed last month, coming in at 1.15 million, down 4.8% MOM and 5.8% YOY. The notoriously volatile multi-family segment drove the decrease, as single family starts were more or less unchanged. The Street was looking for 1.22 million units. Building permits came in at 1.22 million, lower than estimates as well. They were down 4% on a MOM  basis but were up 4% on a YOY basis.

Where is the growth in housing construction? Texas. Of course Texas didn’t really experience the bubble type behavior the way states like California, Arizona, and Florida did. This may be because Texas has more restrictions on cash-out refinances than other states. Here is a chart of where the action is (and is not)

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