Morning Report: Home prices rise 12/27/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2689.8 2.8
Eurostoxx Index 390.1 -0.1
Oil (WTI) 59.5 -0.4
US dollar index 86.6 -0.2
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.46%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 102.375
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.25
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.97

Stocks are higher this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are up as well.

Home prices rose 0.7% MOM in October and are up 6.4% YOY, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Diego led the charge with 12.7%, 10.2%, and 8.1% gains respectively. Inventory fell to 3.4 month’s worth of supply, although some of that is probably seasonal. With home prices accelerating so fast out West, renting could be more attractive than buying in some MSAs.

Manufacturing continued to be strong in in December according to the Richmond and Dallas Fed.

Pending home sales rebounded in November, according to NAR.  This is the first YOY gain since June, and is being driven by a strong economy. There might have been some hurricane elements at play however.

What trade worked in 2017 (aside from Bitcoin and the stock market?) Credit risk transfer securities issued by Fannie and Fred. These are meant to offload some of the credit risk that the GSEs hold on their balance sheets. They take the first losses when borrowers default. The subordinate tranches of these securities made over 11% last year. outstripping high yield bonds and MBS by a wide margin. If there is more of an appetite for these securities, it will go a long way in helping establish the framework for competition to Fannie and Fred.

The current state of affairs over who runs the CFPB: Mick Mulvaney (appointed by Trump) or Leandra English (appointed by outgoing director Richard Cordray).

Tax reform will probably cause more migration from the high-cost states like NY, NJ, CT, IL, and CA to cheaper states like NC and TX. These states are hit with the double-whammy of high housing costs and high state taxes. The difference probably isn’t going to be enough to cause a massive migration, however it could nudge those who are on the fence.

Bond funds have been seeing outflows since tax reform has passed and investors are making changes to their asset allocations. Bond funds saw a withdrawal of $3.3 billion in the week ending Dec 20, which may account for the big increase in the 10 year’s yield that week. It isn’t just US Treasuries – the German Bund yield is up big this year as well. As investors become more constructive on the economy, they are shifting to emerging market sovereign bonds, which pay more and are more levered to global economic growth and out of Treasuries and Bunds, which are largely looked at as safe haven assets. Developed market stock funds also saw outflows as investors rang the register after a great year.

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