Morning Report: Home demand returns

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 2823 -23.1
Oil (WTI) 28.79 1.29
10 year government bond yield 0.60%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.36%

 

Stocks are lower this morning after a lousy retail sales number. Bonds and MBS are up.

 

Retail sales fell 16.4% MOM and 21.6% YOY, according to Census. Obviously these are unprecedented numbers, never seen before. Apparel, home furnishings, and electronics were down the most.

 

Joe Biden would support rent forgiveness if elected.  In other words, if you missed rent payments due to COVID, you’ll never have to pay them back. This is just election pandering – the chance of this getting through Congress is pretty much zero. I guess it is a way to encourage the Bernie Sanders supporters to come out and vote for him on election day.

 

Meanwhile, the FHFA is extending its foreclosures and eviction moratorium until June 30.

 

Interesting data point: Home buyer demand is higher than it was pre-COVID 19. Meanwhile supply is down 25%.  Big open floor plans are out, home offices are in. “Pre-COVID people wanted a beautiful open floor plan. After a few months in quarantine, buyers want quiet spaces where they can actually get away from everyone else and dedicated space for school and work.”

homebuyer demand

 

JP Morgan and American Homes 4 Rent are joining together to build suburban homes. FWIW, COVID-19 might be what makes the white picket fence cool again.

46 Responses

  1. Interesting data point: Home buyer demand is higher than it was pre-COVID 19. Meanwhile supply is down 25%. Big open floor plans are out, home offices are in. “Pre-COVID people wanted a beautiful open floor plan. After a few months in quarantine, buyers want quiet spaces where they can actually get away from everyone else and dedicated space for school and work.”

    What’s the interest in permanent relocation to suburbia? I have to think big city living with everybody packed in like sardines is losing it’s appeal. At least for some.

    Joe Biden would support rent forgiveness if elected. In other words, if you missed rent payments due to COVID, you’ll never have to pay them back. This is just election pandering – the chance of this getting through Congress is pretty much zero.

    Even a democratic congress and potentially senate? If there was in fact a blue wave, I could see that happening.

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    • Perhaps, but then the mortgage can’t get paid, and all the property taxes won’t get paid… I know the left fantasizes that every landlord is the monopoly guy, but most are retirees that own a property or two.

      I would hope the left get that, but maybe you’re right.

      Liked by 1 person

      • They’ll also have some impossible to navigate program to keep rental property owners solvent that won’t pay off until they’re all well past bankruptcy but will pretend they did everything right. That would be my guess!

        Like

  2. https://taibbi.substack.com/p/democrats-have-abandoned-civil-liberties?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo4NTc0NzI2LCJwb3N0X2lkIjo0NTk4ODUsIl8iOiJpM292SiIsImlhdCI6MTU4OTU2NDUyNiwiZXhwIjoxNTg5NTY4MTI2LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMTA0MiIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.eqwqoF71WteC4bIqwicWYvtSPnmV4yzYgPMEyUF8AOI

    Matt Taibbi on the Flynn thing. Good read.

    A Laurel-and-Hardy team of agents conducted the interview, then took three weeks to write and re-write multiple versions of the interview notes used as evidence (because why record it?). They were supervised by a counterintelligence chief who then memorialized on paper his uncertainty over whether the FBI was trying to “get him to lie” or “get him fired,” worrying that the White House was “playing games.” After another leak to the Washington Post in early February, 2019, Flynn actually was fired, and later pleaded guilty to lying about sanctions in the Kislyak call, the transcript of which was of course never released to either the defense or the public.

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    • KW:

      Not to be too pedantic (who, me?) but Taibbi is wrong about one small thing that actually makes his point even stronger. He said:

      They were supervised by a counterintelligence chief who then memorialized on paper his uncertainty over whether the FBI was trying to “get him to lie” or “get him fired,” worrying that the White House was “playing games.”

      Actually he wasn’t worried that the White House was “playing games”. He was worried that the White House would perceive the FBI as “playing games”. Which, of course, they were, and why the agent was objecting to the agreed Flynn strategy. The notes said:

      If we’re seen as playing games, WH will be furious.

      Protect our institution by not playing games.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scott, looks like he corrected it. It now reads:

        “They were supervised by a counterintelligence chief who then memorialized on paper his uncertainty over whether the FBI was trying to “get him to lie” or “get him fired,” worrying that they’d be accused of “playing games.””

        Liked by 1 person

        • jnc:

          Scott, looks like he corrected it.

          Good to see. Like I said, it only enhances his point.

          Like

    • This:

      “(the melodramatic group email somberly reported as momentous news is one of many tired media tropes in the Trump era)”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Christ, yes. I get not liking Trump or not even being able to stand him. I get preferring any of the Democrats that ran as a replacement, even Biden and Bernie. Even Hillary.

        But the media I can’t understand. It seems like more and more they are catering to a tiny sliver of the population that treats the news media as the priests-and-popes of the new religion and when they come out with their latest snake-handing absurdity, they all swoon and start speaking on tongues.

        While I just look at them and wonder what the hell is wrong with them.

        Like

  3. OK then:

    “Biden: ‘I wouldn’t vote for me if I believed Tara Reade’

    The former vice president also said Americans “should vote their heart. And if they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldn’t vote for me.”

    By QUINT FORGEY

    05/15/2020
    08:58 AM EDT”

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/15/joe-biden-i-wouldnt-vote-for-me-if-i-believed-tara-reade-260146

    Like

    • I now think Reade was and probably remains unstable, and that her enhanced story is false. Watch this:

      https://www.pbs.org/video/vote-2020-1589577415/

      Liked by 1 person

      • When did the rules shift from Believe All Women to They’re All Lying Whores?

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        • The rules are the same, it’s just different if you’re a Republican and the accused is a Democrat–or if you’re a Democrat and the accused is a Republican.

          That being said, more Republicans seem willing to discount Reade’s story than Democrats willing to discount Ford’s or the other Kavanaugh accusers.

          But I think it’s the same thing–you have to look at the incentives, which are perverse. You have to realize that lots of people want these accusations to exist and will promote and embellish them, because the system encourages that.

          People’s memories are poor. Major events can conflate memories. Biden could have said inappropriate things to Reade and made her uncomfortable with hair-sniffing and shoulder-touching. Some other asshole could have shoved his hand down her pants in some other context–but that other asshole is never going to run for president and Biden is.

          And things get conflated, either consciously or unconsciously, and people can get weird ideas about what constitutes justice for the wrongs they have suffered.

          Exaggeration becomes self-permissible when the consequences are too great or you just don’t believe the story itself adequately conveys the trauma you feel you experiences. And then the exaggeration becomes real to you, to the point you actually believe it. All these things are possible.

          And of course the shit could have gone down exactly as reported. But without evidence, and with the notorious inaccuracy of witnesses (including corroborative witness) . . . it really shouldn’t be treated as any kind of evidence even though it often is.

          When the situation has incentives like “15 minutes of fame” and “getting on TV” and “becoming the darling of one political side or the other for 15 minutes” while also becoming a victim of the other side and getting some vindication from that . . .

          Eh. The rule should always be, IMO, “Believe no one.”

          The corollary: you can believe the video. Maybe. Absent that, you just don’t know.

          Franken got railroaded but at least there were pictures and stuff.

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        • Pretty good financial incentives, Blasey-Ford made several million via GofundMe. What ultimately makes me doubt Reade (though I believe Biden’s a flaming pervert) is her belief that the MeToo movement would embrace her. That demonstrates a lack of rational thinking.

          Liked by 1 person

        • KW:

          That being said, more Republicans seem willing to discount Reade’s story than Democrats willing to discount Ford’s or the other Kavanaugh accusers.

          Were there any Democrats willing to discount Ford’s accusations? I am not aware of any who did so publicly.

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        • I am not aware of that, actually, but I am aware of more than a few folks on the right willing to apply the same standard they applied to Kavanaugh to Biden in this case. Not all of them, obviously.

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        • Once there is a potential financial incentive (Reade could potential benefit, too, or at least have had a reasonable expectation that she might–although she’d have to know she’d need to cater to the right for that to happen, and her approach seemed to change over time to make her more palatable to potential right wing donors, so . . . coincidence?) it’s hard to trust the accusations.

          When people come out against the Famous and Important, there can be lots of reasons and, again, with no evidence . . . even if credible it has to be taken with a grain of salt. Certainly it’s crazy to try to set up things so that any accusation can derail a presidential election or a judicial nomination. Too many people want to be able to control these things outside of the systems set in place.

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      • I’m dubious as well. I think it’s still possible (powerful men, DC, the given era–it’s all credible). But there’s no evidence and no hard confirmation and we’re in an era where people will try anything (see Kavanaugh hearings). The cooperation of the MSM obviously helps in the bending of reality but still . . . zero real evidence. Corroboration from friends.

        There are, IMO, lots of reasons not to vote for Trump or Biden but the evidence-free accusations of women a decade or three after-the-fact should not be included.

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        • KW:

          There are, IMO, lots of reasons not to vote for Trump or Biden but the evidence-free accusations of women a decade or three after-the-fact should not be included.

          Again, I have to disagree. Biden wanted another person’s life/career to be ruined based on evidence-free accusations of a woman a decade or three after the fact, so it is only just that he be subject to the same standard. I think Tara Reade’s accusations are the perfect reason not to vote for Biden.

          Like

        • The principal, for me, is it’s a bad idea. It’s functionally dysfunctional. It’s better to continually call out those trying to distort and ruin people’s careers on evidence-free or unfounded allegations. Not participate in it.

          Although individuals should of course make their own decisions and use their own criteria when making a voting choice!

          Like

        • KW:

          It’s better to continually call out those trying to distort and ruin people’s careers on evidence-free or unfounded allegations. Not participate in it.

          I don’t understand in what possible way it would be “better” to give a pass to the very politicians who do and have tried to ruin people’s careers based on evidence-free or unfounded allegations, rather than to hold them to their own standards.

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        • “Biden wanted another person’s life/career to be ruined based on evidence-free accusations of a woman a decade or three after the fact, so it is only just that he be subject to the same standard.”

          Not just that.He also was a driver of the revised Title IX standards. He should be judged under those as well.

          The other thing about Biden vs Kavanaugh,is Kavanaugh was about something that happened in high school. Biden was about something that happened when he was a Senator.

          Like

  4. This is good. How to be a Max Boot or Jen Rubin

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/05/14/a-handy-guide-to-writing-the-nevertrump-column/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not the Onion:

    “ICE Agents Fight Sex Trafficking by Paying Potential Victims for Hand Jobs

    In “Operation Asian Touch,” federal agents coerced suspected human-trafficking victims into sex acts. Local cops seized money and threw them in jail.

    Elizabeth Nolan Brown | 5.14.2020 12:50 PM”

    https://reason.com/2020/05/14/ice-agents-fight-sex-trafficking-by-paying-potential-victims-for-hand-jobs/

    Like

    • Not true JNC, here’s a link to an article in the NYTimes sounding very similar to the propublica piece you linked. It’s from April 28th.

      I’ve heard some of the same commentary on CNN when I decide to watch it.

      I don’t do the Washington Post so don’t know what they’re saying there.

      Of course in CA, the comparison has been made in the papers here as well since our governor’s handling of the crisis seems to have had a better outcome, at least regarding cases, hospitalizations, ICU beds and the like.

      Really, thanks to London Breed in SF and her health advisers, our state was very aware of the potential for disaster early on.

      In addition to this, I watched a lot of Cuomo’s news briefings in the mornings, before I got sick of him, around the time he was dealing with the first wave of cases and it was obvious, to me at least, that he was behind the curve.

      Like

      • lmsinca! Awesome. Thanks for that. And good to see you! How are things going for you?

        I personally see a lot of the New York problem as resulting from the battled between politicians for provenance. Instead of the state letting the cities and counties proceed as they see fit, and then the state providing guidance for them without requiring a war.

        In my experience it’s always a mistake to ignore the people on the front line and make decisions for the folks on the front line from your ivory tower.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Kevin, I’m fine. I’m getting ready for surgery next Wednesday. I’m a little nervous about being in the hospital but it looks like the one we go to is doing very well re the virus so it’s time to get this hip situation resolved. I’m dying to get out and hike again!

          Take care!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Good luck on the surgery, we’re all praying for you. Please let us know that it went ok!!!

          Liked by 2 people

        • Best of luck! I’m sure all will be well! Don’t be nervous about being in the hospital—probably more sanitary and safer than going to the grocery store!

          Take care, too!

          Liked by 1 person

        • KW:

          I suspect it will take some time before we really know why the situation in NYC was so dramatically worse than most other cities including SF, and I am very interested in an explanation, but I highly doubt is has much to do with the week’s difference between when San Fransisco shut down and when NYC shut down. My guess is that it will be a combination of non-policy factors, such as differences in the type and use of mass transit, age of infrastructure (primarily housing), and relative population density. And perhaps a different strain of covid from that found in CA.

          The one policy that Cuomo got obviously wrong and probably did contribute to a higher death counts was his early treatment of nursing homes. So he probably should be taken to task on that front.

          Like

        • I suspect part of NYC’s issue is that the apartment buildings are all older with shared ventilation systems. Especially in the crappier sections of the boroughs..

          Like

    • Here’s an interesting piece comparing SF and NYC’s C19 responses and outcomes that might be informative and add to the debate here re why NYC has so far had a worse outcome. It’s from early last month but it might still be valid.

      https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/04/07/coronavirus-lessons-from-new-york-and-san-francisco/

      California has been the best performer among U.S. states that have had at least 10 COVID-19 deaths; New York has been the worst. But these are big states and they differ in many aspects. It is more informative to compare cities that are similar but have fared differently in dealing with the disease. Two obvious candidates are New York City and San Francisco, the most densely populated cities in these states and the two densest large cities in the U.S. (Table 1). Both are coastal, located on roughly the same latitude (40.8°N and 37.8°N respectively), and their climate in March is not all that different. They have similarly strong linkages with China, measured, for example, by air traffic between Wuhan and these two cities. Their politics are similar: Both have Democratic Party city mayors and both are in states run by Democrats. But COVID-related outcomes in these cities are even more different than those of their states.

      Like

      • One thing I’d like to know is, of the early NY severe and lethal cases, how many were from Asians? After Chinese New Years there was a large influx of returning Chinese to New York. Same with northern Italy.

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      • When lockdown started, how lockdown started, the nature of their mass transit and apartments and office buildings and perhaps standards for hygiene? Also I think New York got hit hard with the “nursing homes gotta let in the sick people” think that was relatively unique.

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  6. The media’s hysteria over new Covid cases in states that are reopening is fascinating. New cases were always going to go up as testing increased. Why aren’t they measuring new Covid hospitalizations? Do they think people don’t reason? Or do members of the media not reason?

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    • It’s about driving an agenda.

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    • While the left doesn’t like the deaths, the rest of the COVID crisis touches all of their pleasure points. They are in their element: collective sacrifice, the “we’re all in this together”mindset, getting everyone marching in the same direction, hectoring the heretics, placing blind trust in technocrats, virtue signalling, plus the fun of a freak-out. The only thing missing is 1930s poster art exhorting people to wash their hands.

      The left is going to milk this for all its worth, and it can’t do that if everything is more or less back to normal by the 4th of July. Then Orange Man Bad’s Katrina becomes Orange Man’s triumph.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Members of the media don’t reason and aren’t interested in contextualizing anything. New cases aren’t as good a measurement as fatalities or hospitalizations, obviously. But context is not as dramatic as “cases way up after reopening” with as asterisk, or not, indicating the fact testing is also way up and that’s the curve the number of cases is actually following.

      And there’s a whole bunch of people who either want to be relieved of any responsibility or decision making, or want to make all the decisions for everybody. So none of them want to believe that providing accurate information and letting people make their own decisions could have positive outcomes.

      The reality is if people know what’s going on, you’ll have people social distancing, sheltering in place, staying away from gramma, and wearing masks and washing their hands more without a single government edict.

      If people keep doing things that are non-intuitive in terms of spreading infection, a rigorous awareness campaign will change their behavior. Without any police enforcement.

      But there are too many people who don’t want to leave life-and-death (supposedly) decisions in the hands of regular people. And, while we’re at it, we really ought to take other decisions out of their hands as well.

      Like

  7. The Democrats go all in with their activist base:

    “The House’s latest coronavirus relief bill gives stimulus payments to unauthorized immigrants

    House Republicans tried and failed to strike a provision that would give stimulus payments to immigrants.

    By Nicole Narea
    May 16, 2020, 1:30pm EDT ”

    https://www.vox.com/2020/5/16/21260906/house-stimulus-check-immigrants-heroes-act

    Like

    • The only thing missing is a requirement that elementary schools keep a bowl of rainbow colored condoms at the front desk.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I also think the left is seeing the writing is on the wall for this crisis coming to an end. There is not going to be any more stimulus out of DC.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of my left friends on Facebook was posting that everyone should be prepared for two negative consequences of premature reopening of businesses:

        1. More people might die.
        2. Trump might get reelected.

        Like

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