Morning Report: Homeownership rate ticks up 11/7/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2588.5 -0.3
Eurostoxx Index 396.3 -0.3
Oil (WTI) 57.3 -0.1
US dollar index 87.9 0.0
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.32%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 102.875
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.938
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.95

Stocks are flat on no real news. Bonds and MBS are flat as well.

Small business optimism slipped in September, according to the NFIB. The big driver was a drop in sales expectations, which may have been influenced by the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. The drop was not just concentrated in the affected areas, so it is hard to attribute the drop to simply that. Small business shed an average of .17 workers during the month, and again this was not simply a hurricane effect. Small business optimism is high by historical standards, however and the Atlanta Fed is forecasting a 4.5% jump in GDP growth the fourth quarter of 2017.

Job openings were 6.1 million at the end of September. The quits rate edged up to 2.2%. The quits rate has historically been a leading indicator for wage growth, and a data point the Fed invariably references during their FOMC deliberations.

Tax reform continues to work its way through the committee process. Partisan tensions are already beginning to show. One thing to note: the Senate bill maintains the mortgage interest deduction at $1 million versus the House’s plan to cap it at $500,000. Corporations are digesting a surprise provision that levies an excise tax on payments made to overseas affiliates. Here is the state of play.

Home prices rose 7% YOY, according to CoreLogic. They are up 0.9% MOM. Rental price inflation was about 3%, less than half the increase in the index, which reflects tight inventory conditions. They estimate that about a third of the major metropolitan areas are overvalued. Rental price inflation is lagging as the homeownership rate increases. It hit 63.9% in the third quarter, according to the Census Bureau.

The Bank of England plotted the real risk free rate of interest going back to 1311. It puts into perspective how depressed the current global economy is, when you consider the real rate has been around 4% historically. The blue shaded areas are real rate depressions, and the one starting in the early 1980s has been the second-longest and is most similar to the long depressions of the late 19th century. These periods have been historically associated with low productivity growth, populism, and protectionism. Note that the bounceback from these periods has been sharp: typically you have seen an increase of 315 basis points in the two years after the cycle ends. The late 19th century phase was associated with the birth of Marxism. Is it a coincidence that Millennials are embracing socialism and communism?

interest rates

JP Morgan estimates there will be 4 rate hikes in 2018. A tightening labor market will drive the increases, however we are seeing commodity price inflation as well, which will eventually flow through to overall inflation. Food and energy prices are increasing, and for the builders, lumber prices are at multi-year highs.

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