Morning Report: Existing home sales flat 9/20/18

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P futures 2926 11.5
Eurostoxx index 382.7 2.72
Oil (WTI) 71.58 0.46
10 year government bond yield 3.09%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 4.86%

Stocks are higher this morning after China agreed to cut some tariffs. Bonds and MBS are getting slammed.

Bond yields are up 27 basis points over the past month. Not sure what is driving that (at least nothing specific), but it is a worldwide phenomenon. Bunds and JGBs have also been selling off, though not as dramatically. The Fed funds futures have become more hawkish over the same period, raising the probability of a Dec hike from 63% to 87%. This has certainly stopped the flood of hand-wringing stories in the business press about the flattening yield curve.

Initial Jobless Claims hit a 50 year low, and are within striking distance of the 200,000 level. Meanwhile, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators took a step back in August, rising 0.4% after July’s torrid 0.6% growth. Still strong numbers, however.

Consumer comfort rose to a 17 year high, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (highest since Jan 2001).

One reason why consumption has been strong is growing home equity, which rose almost a trillion YOY in the second quarter. This is an increase of 12.3%. The number of homes with negative equity fell by half a million to 2.2 million, or about 4.3% of all mortgaged homes. On average, the typical homeowner saw a $16,200 increase in housing wealth. Only 3 states: North Dakota, Connecticut, and Louisiana saw declines.

Existing home sales remained flat in August, according to NAR.  Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the decline in existing home sales appears to have hit a plateau with robust regional sales. “Strong gains in the Northeast and a moderate uptick in the Midwest helped to balance out any losses in the South and West, halting months of downward momentum,” he said. “With inventory stabilizing and modestly rising, buyers appear ready to step back into the market.” The median house price was $264,800, up 4.6% YOY. Inventory is still tight, at 4.1 month’s worth, and days on market ticked up slightly to 29 days. First time homebuyers accounted for 31% of sales. Historically, that number has been closer to 40%.

Closing rates jumped across the board to 71.7%, according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report. Average FICOs were 724, and average LTV was 79%. Both those numbers are more or less unchanged YOY. It typically took 43 days to close a loan.

When is the best time of year to buy a home? It depends. Prices do decline however during the winter, with purchases in January and February 8.5% cheaper than the peak summer months. Even in Autumn, they fall 3%. So, don’t get too depressed about your Z-scores during the winter months. It could be just seasonality.

89 Responses

  1. New synonym for lying – “empowered”

    “In my [Facebook] post, I was empowered and I was sure it probably did [happen],” Miranda told NPR. “I had no idea that I would now have to go to the specifics and defend it before 50 cable channels and have my face spread all over MSNBC news and Twitter.”

    Sucks when you have to actually defend your bullshit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More communists in the deep state.. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised given Brennan ran the CIA…


  3. Opps. Should have thought of that beforehand:

    “Brett Kavanaugh will also be angry, bitter, and resentful if he reaches the Supreme Court”


    • Like Clarence Thomas, who has been bitter and angry for being “called out in public as a harasser”. No presumption of innocence at Salon, fer sure.

      Tribalists live in largely fictional universes. Perhaps one of the reason the write their stories like fictional narrators.


    • jnc:

      The piece reads almost like a parody of what a progressive would say.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The rights of women and minorities don’t matter to the conservative eleven white Republican men whose votes control the committee. All that matters to them is that white men are protected.

      I wonder if this is hyperbole or he actually believes it.


      • People who think they can read minds tend to uncritically believe they can, in fact, read minds. They translate an emotional conviction into rock-solid evidence that what is entirely imaginary (whether correct or not) is not only true but so obviously true that there’s something wrong with you if you can’t see it.

        While I can’t speak to this person’s beliefs (being, in fact, unable to read his mind), observation indicates that flat statements that, to be actual known data to the writer, would have to involve telepathy . . . tend to be advanced by people with sincere beliefs who are not aware of the emotional/hormonal/tribal/instinctual/quasi-religious process that’s feeding them the fiction that they have inherent access to this special knowledge.

        Tangent: this also is an example of the selective empathy of humans. Which is ironic coming from people who claim the title of Most Empathetic Ever and tell us, with their mind reading powers, that people who disagree with them politically have had their empathy cauterized by greed.

        Someone who actually demonstrated empathy would realize what an absurd statement that was. People generally don’t think in those terms, and the 11 male white Republican caucasian men thus far exhibit no sign of being focused on the protection of the white man as an animating ideal.

        It’s far more likely that they want to do well in their job, act in a way the gains praise from friends, defend someone the think is getting a raw deal, earn points with colleagues, advance a constructionist judicial agenda, etc., etc. Actual empathy would make the writer consider how wrong and unlikely his description was . . . and find some other way to insult and belittle them.

        But the more devoted you are to your tribe, whatever you notion of “your tribe” is, the more it stunts your ability to experience empathy with outsiders. As true of any Salon columnist as it is of any White Nationalist.


  4. The slutty handmaiden halloween costume… We have hit peak 2018

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is peak 2018.


    • The outfits are no more.

      Yandy always has stood, and will continue to stand, at the forefront of encouraging our customers to “Own Your Sexy”. We support our customers being comfortable in their skin, regardless of who they are or what they choose to wear. Our corporate ideology is rooted in female empowerment, and gender empowerment overall.

      Over the last few hours, it has become obvious that our “Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume” is being seen as a symbol of women’s oppression, rather than an expression of women’s empowerment. This is unfortunate, as it was not our intention on any level. Our initial inspiration to create the piece was through witnessing its use in recent months as a powerful protest image.

      Given the sincere, heartfelt response, supported by numerous personal stories we’ve received, we are removing the costume from our site.

      Now THAT is peak 2018

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It will be interesting to see how this plays out:


  6. The real lesson is do what you want then, deny, deny, deny. You’re going to be accused regardless, might as well indulge yourself.

    Fuck ‘em, literally and figuratively. In this environment I’ll happily give a homie a pass.


  7. “Yes means anal.” Snicker.


  8. I don’t think this broad’s gonna testify.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Censure Diane Feinstein?

    How does she stack up against the most famously censured senator, Joe McCarthy? While what people remember is McCarthy’s trafficking in smears and innuendoes — immortalized in Joseph Welch’s “have you no sense of decency” reproach — McCarthy was actually condemned for “non-cooperation with and abuse of” one Senate subcommittee and abuse of another. The words of McCarthy’s condemnation — that his conduct “tended . . . to obstruct the constitutional processes of the Senate, and to impair its dignity” — fit Feinstein’s conduct as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee like a glove.

    And if trafficking in smears and innuendoes is relevant, consider what Feinstein did: Not only did she fail in her committee duties, but she did everything she could to make the charge public in a way that made the target’s defense difficult or impossible. The charge was lodged anonymously, and rather than subjecting it to vetting by her fellow senators, Feinstein made a transparently groundless referral of the matter to the FBI — as if there could conceivably be a federal law-enforcement dimension to the decades-old claim of sexual assault — which the FBI, to its credit, unceremoniously filed away. Left hanging in the glare of a still-untested sexual-assault charge — which today has the same resonance that a charge of Communist sympathies had in McCarthy’s day — are Judge Kavanaugh, his wife, and his two daughters. They are in a far worse position than was the young lawyer in whose defense Welch made his famous statement.


    • “but she did everything she could to make the charge public in a way that made the target’s defense difficult or impossible.”

      No she didn’t. It’s existance was leaked by someone else to the Intercept originally. My guess would be by staff, either hers or the Congresswoman whom Ford contacted originally.

      Other Democrats are actually angry with her for sitting on it.


      • jnc:

        No she didn’t.

        Yes she did. Whether or not she did so consciously (and I’d wager she did), it is in fact precisely the effect of the way she handled it. If she had shared the info earlier, it would have been handled in an entirely different way, and would have been much more fair to Kavanaugh.

        Other Democrats are actually angry with her for sitting on it.

        I know, and like I said the other day, they shouldn’t be. This tactic has been far more effective than if the allegations had been brought up and addressed during the normal vetting process.


  10. I didn’t see this piece when it came out originally, but it’s an interesting reread now ten years after the Lehman Brothers crash:

    Apparently the one guy who got convicted was for not following mark to market rules, which of course later were suspended for the supposed good of the system.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Will this result in the NYT reconsidering it’s “experts”?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. At least one woman gets it:

    “Why not have a thorough investigation instead of just the two of them ‘he said, she said?” Kaye asked.

    “Because it doesn’t matter!” another woman said.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely plan on reading Haidt’s new book. I have a road trip planned in a couple weeks and I will get the audio book for the drive. But specifically on Sullivan, he says:

      Equally, Republicans are so terrified of losing a Court seat (we’re on a rhetorical Flight 93 and have to rush the cockpit!), they cannot wait for a few days for an FBI investigation, even though they were prepared to wait over a year to fill an empty seat when a Democrat was president. Their tribal double standards continue to take my breath away.

      What’s the double standard? They delayed in 2016 in order to increase the chances of getting candidate more preferable to them, and they don’t want to delay in 2018 for the exact same reason. Had they delayed Garland under the pretense that they had to “investigate” some a 35 year old, unverifiable allegation against him, then they would be guilty of a employing a double standard. This is not a double standard.

      Again, the premise here that Sullivan adopts, and which I reject, is that these allegations are objectively relevant to whether or not Kavanaugh should sit on the court, rather than simply a convenient excuse for those opposed to the nomination anyway to try to run out the clock on the election. Why is everyone so intent on ignoring this transparently obvious fact?

      (As an aside, Sullivan also uses a formulation I have heard a lot lately, and not just in the Kavanaugh context…”credibly accused”. What makes a mere accusation “credible”? Is it simply the fact that the accusation is not transparently false?)


      • “They delayed in 2016 in order to increase the chances of getting candidate more preferable to them”

        Of course, that’s not the actual justification that they gave.


        • jnc:

          Of course, that’s not the actual justification that they gave.

          Sure, but even the claimed justification, the Biden rule, doesn’t represent a double standard with regard to the Kavanaugh nomination.


      • @scottc1: Again, the premise here that Sullivan adopts, and which I reject, is that these allegations are objectively relevant to whether or not Kavanaugh should sit on the court, rather than simply a convenient excuse for those opposed to the nomination anyway to try to run out the clock on the election. Why is everyone so intent on ignoring this transparently obvious fact?

        I concur. And I am on record in not liking how the Republicans handled to Garland nomination. They should have let it come to a vote, following the process. At least, in the abstract, that’s what they should have done.

        In the same way the Democrats should have never given this 30 year old mis-rembered, evidence-free accusation such attention. Or any attention.

        The primary difference between the Republican strategy and the present Democratic strategy is, at least when denying Garland (and Obama), the Republican’s didn’t actively substantiate a highly-questionable claim of drunken assault while attempting to make it synonymous with rape. I’m pretty sure Garland and his family weren’t run through this kind of a ringer by the GOP. In fact, while I know the GOP has opposed certain justices, I’m having a hard time thinking of a case where they’ve done anything analogous to a democratic SCOTUS nominee.

        Although I don’t approve of the Republican’s strategy in the case of Garland, or their transparent lying about it, I can’t help but feel like it was objectively better and less harmful than what the Democrats and the left (those agitating about this nomination, at any rate) are doing now.


        • It was in the sense that they didn’t feel a need to personally destroy Garland’s reputation in order to prevent his confirmation.

          They had the votes instead.


        • jnc:

          It was in the sense that they didn’t feel a need to personally destroy Garland’s reputation in order to prevent his confirmation.

          Are there any examples of R’s personally destroying, or attempting to do so, a nominee to prevent confirmation?


  13. Oh great…


    • jnc:

      Oh great…

      Can you summarize the article? Apparently I have reached my limit on free NYT articles, and, well, I’m sure you can imagine how I feel about enabling the NYT with my own money.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is pure fantasy. At every level. The 25th amendment does not exist so you can remove a president because you don’t like how they do things. A serious attempt at that, by anybody, would be ridiculous. If successful, it would either be tacitly agreed that they can never use it again, or it would be used all the time, because every Whitehouse has some degree of chaos, every president has people who think he’s making bad decisions, most older presidents have times where they are reduced in capacity due to illness (I expect that might have characterized a Clinton presidency).

      That’s really a genie they don’t want to let out of the bottle. Even if it couldn’t be challenged (and I’m pretty sure it could; I have a hard time seeing the 25th being more effective than impeachment;it doesn’t exist to allow cabinet members to conduct a coup against a president they find incompetent).


      • KW:

        The 25th amendment does not exist so you can remove a president because you don’t like how they do things.

        It does if you are a progressive. If you are a progressive, every part of the Constitution exists to allow you to do everything you want to do, and to prevent the opposition from doing everything you don’t want them to do. This is what the idea of a living constitution exists for.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. RazorFist on the Kavanaugh kerfuffle:

    Not safe for work. Lots of f-bombs, etc. Still, he has a point.


    • Kavanaugh Bears the Burden of Proof

      I assume it’s going to tell me why that’s true.

      Having held up Merrick Garland’s nomination for the better part of a year to get past one election, they are apparently so fearful of further erosion of support for their nominee that they feel the need to rush this matter to a vote just weeks before another one.

      It worries me that these folks don’t ever say “holding up Merrick Garland was a bullshit tactic, and so is this”.

      That said, the allegation against him is, at least so far as one can tell from the press reports, credible

      This has to be an entirely subjective assessment, I guess. I have a hard time (in my subjectivity) seeing how an evidence-free accusation about something that happened, allegedly, 30 years ago, where Kavanaugh was only recently named to anybody (and only her husband confirms that she mentioned Kavanaugh in 2012) and that Feinstein sat on until the 11th hour . . . I have a hard time seeing how one can, in good faith, consider that credible.

      I would tell him he almost certainly should have his nomination withdrawn.

      If he doesn’t want to, he shouldn’t. If he wants to stand his ground against what he believes or knows to be BS allegations, he absolutely should. If his family supports him in this then he most definitely should. From a “good of the culture” perspective, I’m not sure how his meekly surrendering to 11th hour gimicks or false memories does anything but encourage more of this going forward.

      I would advise him against letting Senate Republicans ram his nomination through

      Isn’t it moving forward at scheduled speed? If so, how is that ramming it through?

      And Kavanaugh himself, if he is telling the truth about his conduct in high school, deserves better than to be confirmed under circumstances which tens of millions of people will regard, with good reason, as tainted.

      For your own good, you deserve to give up on your dreams of reaching the pinnacle of your career. For your own good.

      The latter, even if Kavanaugh’s memory is genuinely and honestly impaired and he actually believes the incident never took place, cannot be distinguished publicly from the former.

      Is this his same position on Ford’s memory?

      If the allegations are true, Kavanaugh cannot be confirmed.

      How does this matter in any way, shape, or form? There is no way to know if it’s true or not. Unless someone videotaped the event and someone has that video tape . . . I just don’t see this as being something where there can ever be anything more than testimony.

      The only plausible defense now for him is self-exculpation on the facts.

      What facts from where?

      . There is no known standard of evidence applicable here.

      Sure there is. There is no evidence. The standard for that should be pretty clear.

      But if Kavanaugh cannot present such a defense—even if he truly believes himself innocent, even if he is innocent—the better part of valor is to get out now.

      I really have a hard time following this logic.

      It means accepting that it is better to continue serving as a D.C. Circuit judge than to play the sort of undignified games that Republicans are playing on his behalf.

      Thank goodness the Democrats aren’t doing anything undignified here!


      • KW:

        Good fisking. But I stopped reading the article in the first paragraph with this:

        They apparently don’t have sufficient confidence in the nominee to let a routine investigation take place before holding a hearing.

        This indicates to me that the author is either a supremely naive and stupid man, or he thinks his readers are (which many of them may well be) and will be easily taken in by such heights of disingenuousness. In the first place, there would be nothing “routine” about any such investigation. The FBI does not routinely investigate any teenage groping allegations, much less those that are 35 years old. Second, anyone with even a modicum of understanding knows that the only reason the D’s are even asking for an investigation is as a delaying tactic, and that is why the R’s don’t want one. It has nothing to do with a lack of confidence in the nominee.

        What ignorant or disingenuous tripe.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I don’t understand this tweet from Grassley.

    For Chrissakes, the only one allowing Schumer to “conduct” is you. Start conducting yourself and call the damn vote. The only possible explanation for continued delay is if Collins, Murkowski, and Flake are unwilling to vote yes without it. If that is the case, then calll them out.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Toldja!

    He’s fucked, for what it’s worth. The appropriate thing for him is to say his piece on Thursday and refuse to withdraw his nomination. Force a vote if Trump’s willing then sue these people for defamation. If he doesn’t even his family will assume it’s true.

    If anything, Thursday’s hearings are going to be more entertaining than the Thoms hearing!


  17. Serious question, why is this a bad thing?


Be kind, show respect, and all will be right with the world.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: