Morning Report: Homes selling at a record pace

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 3356 25.6
Oil (WTI) 42.44 0.82
10 year government bond yield 0.68%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 2.85%

 

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

 

Inflation remains muted. The producer price index (which measures wholesale inflation) rose 0.6% month-over-month, but is down 0.4% on a year-over-year basis. The consumer price index rose 0.6% MOM and is up 1% YOY. This is well below the Fed’s target of 2%.

 

Mortgage applications rose 6.8% last week as purchases increased 2% and refis increased 9%. “Mortgage rates fell across the board last week, as investors grew less optimistic of the economic rebound given the resurgence of virus cases,” said Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Loan types such as the 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, and jumbo all reached survey lows. Refi activity responded to these lower rates, with the refi share reaching almost 66 percent of all applications, its highest level since May. And the refi index jumped 9 percent, reaching its highest level since April, as both conventional and government applications for refinances increased.”

 

United Wholesale is offering a 1.99% 30 year mortgage. Of course you are going to have to pay points to get that rate, and some of it will depend on broker comp.

 

Solution to the affordable housing issue? Converting COVID-driven office and hotels to affordable housing. “That’s going to free up a lot of commercial space, which can be converted to affordable housing,” U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said of the pandemic in a June 24 Fox News interview. “We are very much looking at that right now, looking at ways to be able to facilitate that transformation.” This model was used in the Rust Belt to help revitalize abandoned downtown areas.

 

The pace of homebuying is accelerating. According to Redfin, 46% of sellers are accepting an offer within two weeks. Home sale prices were up 9% YOY to a new high of $311,000. Meanwhile, on the supply side, listings are down 2.7% and the active inventory of homes for sale is down 28%. The list-to-sale ratio is 99%, a record.

59 Responses

  1. The Jacobin take on Harris:

    ,

    “Harris’s possible ascension to the White House solidifies what Biden’s nomination already represented: the defeat, at least temporarily, of the left of the Democratic Party by the party’s corporate faction, and the determination of its elites to barrel ahead with the shallow, corporate politics of the Obama era, a politics mainly concerned with lowering the expectations of ordinary people.”

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/08/joe-biden-kamala-harris-vice-president-neoliberalism

    Like

  2. I don’t understand why the police are even still bothering anymore:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/12/protests-live-updates/

    Like

  3. Good read:

    Like

  4. This is where I get off the CDC bus:

    “Face masks with valves or vents do not prevent spread of the coronavirus, CDC says

    The CDC recommends wearing cloth masks instead of masks with exhalation valves or vents, which have become popular during the pandemic because of their seemingly high-tech design.

    By Reis Thebault and Angela Fritz
    August 13, 2020 at 7:31 a.m. EDT”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/08/13/cdc-mask-guidance-masks-valves/

    Like

  5. Andrew Sullivan has followed Taibbi to Substack:

    https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/the-roots-of-wokeness

    Like

  6. Looks like Trump is sticking to his old playbook…………call me not surprised!

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53774289

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    • President Donald Trump says he has heard Democratic running mate Kamala Harris “doesn’t qualify” to serve as US vice-president, amplifying a fringe legal theory critics decry as racist.

      Looks like the left is sticking to its even older playbook, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This can literally be appended to any sentence describing anything a leftist (or mainstream media pundit) doesn’t like, for any reason:

        amplifying a fringe [insert relevant type to criticism] theory critics decry as racist.

        I imagine most progressives and journalists have some version of the “which critics confirm is racist” or “is clearly racist” as a keyboard macro.

        Like

    • Agreed.

      I knew a white attorney named Bill Washington. One day, in an elevator full of attorneys in the courthouse, one wag said, “Bill, you are the only white Willie Washington I know.” I always think of that when Trump suggests that “Barack” or “Kamala” aren’t birthright citizens. Should have been named Willie Washington, I guess.

      Like

      • Was it racist back when McCain’s eligibility to be president was being questioned?

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        • No, it was just stupid. I thought birtherism is stupid, and I think this is stupid, and I thought trying to get Cheney on a residency technicality or get Kamala Harris on one is stupid. I really would like to see some of this revised and clarified so this sort of stupid stuff can stop. Like a “30-year US resident/naturalized citizen” type of thing. So if you were born in Guama but are now 50 and have lived 45 years in the US then you’re not going to get nailed on a birth question.

          I feel McCain’s was extra-stupid because it was about being born on a military base, right? Which is frackin’ AMERICAN land, as far as I’ve always understood it. But from the beginning, I thought birtherism was idiotic and of all the things that could disqualify Obama, the very least of them.

          Of the things that argued against Cheney–again, his official state of residency was very, very low on the list. Of the things that argue again Kamala Harris, birthplace doesn’t even figure in.

          I’ve been watching Supernatural (binge-watching) on Netflix. They have explored, and where I am right now are exploring again, what happens to people who have their souls removed.

          Which now makes me think of Kamala Harris. So, lack of soul trumps birthplace any day of the week, for me.

          🙂

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    • Birtherism 2.0, I guess? Playing strictly to the far-right base, I guess. I question the racism of it (rationally, that accusation doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, because the legitimacy question can be raised irrespective of race). Though I disagree with the legitimacy question, anyway.

      It’s just grasping at straws, to me. Trying to make something from nothing. Sort of like Russian Collusion!

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  7. Biden is wrong on face masks. A state can surely mandate face masks under its public safety power, but there is no such enumerated power in the Federal Constitution, and I don’t see this as a commerce power measure. YMMV. I think a federal statutory mandate would not survive in the court system.

    But I am solid for Biden. I would now vote for a tomato juice can against Trump. The notion of strangling the USPS system to thwart old people like me from voting is stacking manure on feces.

    I will reserve the right to criticize President Biden on anything but be glad if I get to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark:

      The notion of strangling the USPS system to thwart old people like me from voting is stacking manure on feces.

      Do you seriously think that Trump is trying to thwart his most loyal age demographic from voting? Does he want to thwart white people from voting too?

      Like

      • Trump figures his old folks know how to request an absentee ballot and thus don’t require universal mail in voting. That’s my theory.

        That being said, I’m in no particular agreement with Trump on this (I support funding the post office, I’m not happy about universal mail-in voting as it will be a disastrous mess, but . . . I feel like there are other battles? He could tie signing off that to getting middle-class and small business owners some financial relief, maybe, but the problem with universal voting is probably less fraud and more uncertainty and confusion. And contestability.

        But I don’t think this can really be about thwarting people from voting, because everybody can still vote absentee, they just have to go through the absentee process. But even if I did, why would I vote Biden when I can write in Tulsi Gabbard? Or Zombie Reagan. So many options!

        Like

      • “Do you seriously think that Trump is trying to thwart his most loyal age demographic from voting?”

        He can be incompetent and malicious at the same time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jnc:

          He can be incompetent and malicious at the same time.

          So you too think his goal is to thwart old people from voting?

          Like

        • Not just old people, but yes I think his changes at the Post Office are about interfering with mailed in ballots.

          I think he’s convinced himself that more Democrats will be voting by mail than Republicans.

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        • Is the theory that the post office was a smooth running machine that could handle a nationwide vote by mail election prior to the pandmemic, say, in January, but somehow Trump ruined this ability in the 5 months of the pandemic? Also, he did this because he’s to dumb to know that his voting base are the elderly? Furthermore, the elderly are those traditionally most likely to vote by mail rather than in person?

          Like

        • jnc:

          I think he’s convinced himself that more Democrats will be voting by mail than Republicans.

          In which case he is trying thwart the Democratic vote, not the “old people like Mark” vote.

          Like

        • I am afraid you miss both the gross illegality of interfering with state election systems in the USA [as announced by Trump] AND suppressing the lifeline of meds and SS checks and the like for millions of elderly and veterans.

          You are way too casual about this. As a shorthand, I tried to combine both issues in one sentence, as it is persons over 65 who were going to rely on the vote by mail process, the same people who rely on delivery of their meds and their checks.

          Fortunately for me I get my retirement and SS electronically and Travis County has opened curbside voting for the elderly. I am not in the majority of senior citizens in either respect.

          You may not know this if you are in England, but N95 masks are almost impossible to get for non healthcare workers in the USA and damned difficult for small and rural hospitals to obtain,as well. Because our federal government has failed.

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        • You’re right Mark, whomever left the national stockpile depleted after the last pandemic deserves our full wrath.

          But I’m so old I remember when the same people telling me to wear a mask or I’m literally killing people were telling me masks were useless and furthermore I was literally killing healthcare workers who needed the useless masks by acquiring and wearing said useless masks. Go figure.

          Is your position that the post office was a well oiled machine on 3/1/2020,capable of handling 165,000,000 ballots and now cannot even deliver Social Security checks and statins? Are you further confident that 25 billion could stand-up this once flawless entity to handle 165,000,000 ballots delivered and returned by 11/3/2020?

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        • I don’t understand why I still can’t buy Lysol or disinfectant wipes. Also the coin and now aluminum can shortage, or why so many stores can’t restock Gatorade. What’s going on that prevents these folks from upping production or delivery capacity?

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        • Are Democrats not aware that Social Security checks are no longer sent my USPS?

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        • Again—what is the capacity problem? First 2 months sure but we’re headed into September and shortages started in February. What’s going on exactly? Federal government failure means no stockpile (thanks, Obama!) and no easy to get free masks and what have you, and maybe some problematic production regulations, but what’s the overall capacity problem? Over dependence on China?

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        • Mark:

          I am afraid you miss both the gross illegality of interfering with state election systems in the USA [as announced by Trump] AND suppressing the lifeline of meds and SS checks and the like for millions of elderly and veterans.

          I’m not sure exactly what you think is illegal, but I was responding to your original suggestion that Trump is trying to “thwart old people like me from voting”. I don’t find that a very likely motivation for what is going on, whatever the legality of it might be.

          You are way too casual about this.

          Perhaps I have been jaded by the casual – even enthusiastic – attitude I’ve seen towards attempts to undermine a presidency via the corrupt use of the investigative forces of the government over an obvious hoax. Also, of course, after listening to 3 years of virtually everything Trump does being characterized as The Worst Thing Ever, there may be a bit of a Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf problem out there.

          You may not know this if you are in England, but N95 masks are almost impossible to get for non healthcare workers in the USA and damned difficult for small and rural hospitals to obtain,as well.

          Apparently jnc has found a source.

          Like

        • If I were him I’d expect he sees no way universal vote by mail won’t be tainted and corruptible and difficult to validate—thus making it very easy to challenge or question results. If he expects he’s going to win then he could see it as a strategy to taint his ne to four years in the mold of Russian Collusion. While he himself may exhibit—and dies exhibit—the maliciousness typical of narcissists, I can think of reasons to be disinterested in supporting universal vote-by-mail give the likely chaos that will ensue from its application, especially if he believes himself likely to win.

          Like

        • “Perhaps I have been jaded by the casual – even enthusiastic – attitude I’ve seen towards attempts to undermine a presidency via the corrupt use of the investigative forces of the government over an obvious hoax.

          Also, of course, after listening to 3 years of virtually everything Trump does being characterized as The Worst Thing Ever, there may be a bit of a Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf problem out there.”

          The willingness of others, especially the media, to engage in bad acts to try and undermine Trump doesn’t mean he isn’t acting badly in this case.

          As an anti-anti-Trumper, I always have to be vigilant about dismissing the accusations too blithely just because they come from the usual suspects.

          Remember, the moral of the Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf was that at the end, the wolf was real.

          “Apparently jnc has found a source.”

          I had some 3M N-95’s from prior to the pandemic. I’ve been disinfecting them and reusing them. I believe that NoVA also had some in his prepper kit.

          I’ve been unable to find any new ones available. My current hope is that this project works out:

          https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/leaf-mask-world-s-first-fda-uv-c-n99-clear-mask/x/23576640#/

          Like

        • Besides Trump willfully destroying a good economy, what conspiracy theory that has been posited since he came down the escalator has proven to be true?

          Like

        • jnc:

          The willingness of others, especially the media, to engage in bad acts to try and undermine Trump doesn’t mean he isn’t acting badly in this case.

          That is of course correct. But I wasn’t saying that because of the Russia Collusion hoax, Trump didn’t do anything bad in this case. I was saying that I might take the outrage of people who are scandalized over presumed attempts by Trump to “interfere” with elections more seriously if they themselves weren’t and didn’t remain so blase, if not highly enthusiastic, about the Russia Collusion hoax investigation.

          I also won’t hold Trump to Marquess of Queensbury rules after 4 years of guerilla warfare by the left/Dems/NeverTrumpers.

          Remember, the moral of the Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf was that at the end, the wolf was real.

          Yep. But when it comes to the left/media, I think we are more likely in a Wolf-Who-Cried-Wolf situation than a Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf situation.

          Also, of course, the moral of the story was directed at those who would falsely cry wolf, not those who, after hearing those false cries incessantly, stopped listening.

          I had some 3M N-95’s from prior to the pandemic. I’ve been disinfecting them and reusing them.

          Didn’t know you could do that.

          Like

        • “I had some 3M N-95’s from prior to the pandemic. I’ve been disinfecting them and reusing them.

          Didn’t know you could do that.”

          I’ve been using UV light including just letting them sit out in the sun on bright days (as recommended by my local fire department).

          But you can also use rice cookers.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/mask-n95-multicooker-covid/2020/08/14/94544304-dd8d-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html

          Like

        • “I also won’t hold Trump to Marquess of Queensbury rules after 4 years of guerilla warfare by the left/Dems/NeverTrumpers.”

          Messing with the postal service in an attempt to suppress votes strikes me as a move too far against the system as a whole, not just Democrats. Republicans and probably yourself would be up in arms if Democrats were doing the same thing against military ballots, ala the Gore camp in 2000.

          I’m also perfectly aware that this is the sort of thing that LBJ or Kennedy would have had surrogates do in past times, that then would have become campaign folklore for Mark Shields and David Brooks to have a good laugh over 60 years later on the PBS NewsHour. Because it was done in the service of the preferred candidate.

          I still don’t consider it defensible.

          Like

        • jnc:

          Messing with the postal service in an attempt to suppress votes…

          What specifically is this “messing”, how would it suppress the vote, and what is the evidence that it was designed to accomplish that end?

          Like

        • The reporting of the restructuring of the Post Office and the resultant delays in mail delivery coupled with Trump’s resistance to additional funding to address the problem and his stated opposition to mail in ballots.

          https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/8/7/21358946/postal-service-mail-delays-election-trump-mail-in-ballots

          https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/13/trump-opposes-usps-funding-394692

          Like

        • Joe -The normal process [NoVa can ck me on this] would have been for this to have been an approved course of action by the Postal Board of Governors, who typically always gave a warning of any proposed changes, and also used proposed changes as bargaining chips with both Congress and the Union.

          I am writing each of the board members to find out if this was discussed with them by the PG either when they first vetted him or at any time thereafter, and to determine what they knew and when they knew it, and why was the public not warned in advance, and when was an attempt made to bargain with Congress. There have also been reports that the USPO is capable of normal handling of mail ballots on its current budget. I want them to address that.

          I will report their replies, if any.

          Scott -As to the Russia deal, The Senate Intel Committee reached a bipartisan conclusion that Manafort was a grave threat to intel as Campaign Manager.
          That is bad enough to warrant avoiding the word “hoax”. I might go for “overreach”, and I once wrote here that the buck may well have stopped with Manafort, who played all sides of every game, apparently. Over all, the Committee found “no collusion”, and blasted the FBI’s misuse of Steele’s memo, but came down hard on Manafort.

          As to N95s, I too have one from about 2008. I have never used it. I will need to get a UV box if I want to use it more than once. I also have six tape to the face combo masks that are NIOSH approved that cost about $12 apiece but are absolutely one – time use. The adhesive isn’t reusable. These things are like gold here.

          George is correct that most SS money is now delivered EBT, but although that is how I get mine, I did not know that most do when I included checks in the list of vulnerables.

          Like

        • Mark:

          That is bad enough to warrant avoiding the word “hoax”.

          I don’t think so. Hoax is the perfect word.

          The Russia Collusion narrative was not that Paul Manafort was a bad guy. It was that the Trump campaign, including Trump himself along with several of his advisors (not the least of whom was Michael Flynn), had somehow “colluded” with Russia to, at the very least, influence the outcome of the 2016 election, and possibly to undermine the interests of the US more generally. This was nonsense from the very start, and everyone from the intel heads to members of congress to the Special Counsel to members of the media knew it. It was a hoax, pure and simple. That you placed your trust in it is unfortunate, but it doesn’t make it any less of one.

          Liked by 1 person

        • If I’m reading VOX correctly, all these so-called sabotaging changes started pre-Covid. Are they suggesting that Trump had some foreknowledge of the pandemic? Just wondering if we’re going down another “Bush knew of the 9/11 attacks” road?

          Liked by 1 person

        • jnc:

          I recommend that you read McWing’s links from yesterday.

          Like

        • I’ll check them out and I’m also interested to see how Dejoy’s testimony goes.

          Like

        • “As to the Russia deal, The Senate Intel Committee reached a bipartisan conclusion that Manafort was a grave threat to intel as Campaign Manager.
          That is bad enough to warrant avoiding the word “hoax”. I might go for “overreach”, and I once wrote here that the buck may well have stopped with Manafort, who played all sides of every game, apparently. Over all, the Committee found “no collusion”, and blasted the FBI’s misuse of Steele’s memo, but came down hard on Manafort.”

          I read the Washington Post article, but not the actual report yet.

          If these two pieces are all they have:

          “The Senate Intelligence Committee report states that then-campaign chair Paul Manafort worked with a Russian intelligence officer “on narratives that sought to undermine evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election,” including the idea that purported Ukrainian election interference was of greater concern.

          It found that a Russian attorney who met with Manafort, along with the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his son-in-law Jared Kushner at Trump Tower in 2016, had “significant connections” to the Kremlin. The information she offered them was also “part of a broader influence operation targeting the United States that was coordinated, at least in part with elements of the Russian government,” the report stated.”

          then I stand by my original assessment that it’s BS.

          The Trump Tower meeting and it’s participants have been well documented. The “Russian intelligence officer” was a member of Manifort’s consulting practice whose “intelligence’ duties consisted of his service in the military. He was also employed by several Western NGO’s and worked with the US embassy staff.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/longtime-manafort-associate-konstantin-kilimnik-rejects-his-depiction-in-mueller-report/2019/04/19/af9221ce-62bc-11e9-9ff2-abc984dc9eec_story.html

          Liked by 1 person

    • I will reserve the right to criticize President Biden on anything but be glad if I get to do it.

      I’m actually always glad with there is a peaceful transition of power. Was not happy about 2000 (the fact of it, the approach of both teams, or how it was resolved) but most election years I’m glad we have a peaceful transfer of power. I care more about the reliability of the system than the individual politicians. And often tend to be okay with most presidents, and in retrospect liked Obama more than Bush. Hard to compare Obama to Trump, for me, because I liked Obama in terms of presentation and attitude and such far more than Trump, but I like the actual policies and appointments that come out of the Trump presidency much better.

      So I’m conflicted there. I’m not voting for Biden, and might actually have voted for Trump if I didn’t know for sure Tennessee wasn’t already going to go for Trump. But since it is . . . Tulsi Gabbard it is!

      But I’m just hoping for a trustworthy election and a peaceful resolution and/or transfer of power, however it goes.

      Like

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