Morning Report: Builder sentiment close to record highs

Vital Statistics:


Last Change
S&P futures 3377 16.6
Oil (WTI) 42.64 0.02
10 year government bond yield 0.69%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 2.95%


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


The MBA is pushing Congress to rescind the “adverse market refinance fee,” which is the 50 basis point increase announced by the GSEs last week.

Requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to charge a 0.5% fee on refinance mortgages they purchase will raise interest rates on families trying to make ends meet in these challenging times,” Killmer said. “This means the average consumer will be paying $1,400 more than they otherwise would have paid. Even worse, the September 1 effective date means that thousands of borrowers who did not lock in their rates could face unanticipated cost increases just days from closing.

As many have pointed out, the irony of the Fed pushing down mortgage rates by buying mortgage backed securities in the market versus FHFA trying to raise mortgage rates via the fee is striking.


There isn’t a lot of market-moving data this week, although we have a good amount of housing data with the NAHB Housing Market Index, Existing Homes Sales, and Housing starts.


Homebuilder Sentiment is close to record highs, according to the NAHB. The index rose to 78 in August from 72. 50 is considered neutral. Take a look at the chart below, it looks like we are pretty much at the record highs of the late 90s. Those highs were then followed by a 50% jump in housing starts.



Home prices are rising across the board, but rural properties are seeing the biggest increases, rising 11%.

We’ve been speculating about increasing interest in the suburbs and rural areas since the start of the pandemic,” said Redfin economist Taylor Marr. “Now we’re seeing concrete evidence that rural and suburban neighborhoods are more attractive to homebuyers than the city, partly because working from home means commute times are no longer a major factor for some people. And due to historically low mortgage rates, interest is turning into action. There will always be buyers who choose the city because their jobs don’t allow for remote work or they place a premium on cultural amenities like restaurants and bars—which will eventually come back—but right now the pendulum is swinging toward farther-flung places.

Redfin rural prices


New Home purchase applications are up 39% YOY, according to the MBA. That said, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc with seasonal adjustments, so that number could be overstated.

10 Responses

  1. “The Official 2020 Democratic National Convention Drinking Game
    No one gets out of this thing sober

    Matt Taibbi

    Imagine a four-day Zoom meeting in which the likes of John Kasich, Michael Bloomberg, and Nancy Pelosi warn you for the fifty through sixty millionth times about the “existential threat” of Donald Trump, and you come close to envisioning both hell on earth and what we’re all in for this week with the Democratic Party’s Biden/Harris virtual coronation.

    The alternative is to start drinking early. ”


  2. See, this is how you get rid of inconvenient elections, invoke the pandemic.

    Trump is an amateur when it comes to authoritarianism.

    “New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern delays election due to coronavirus outbreak
    By Emanuel Stoakes
    August 16, 2020 at 10:26 p.m. EDT”


  3. Had no idea about this until reading the Jacobin piece:

    Had Trump kept Steve Bannon around and governed like this, he would be a shoo-in for re-election and would have deeply divided the Democrats from the working class unions.


  4. Jacobin is far better at attacking the Biden and the Democrats than Trump and the Republicans currently are.

    “The Democrats’ DNC Plans Show They Aren’t Even Pretending Anymore

    By Branko Marcetic

    The DNC is the four-yearly apotheosis of the Democratic Party’s love of progressive symbolism and empty rhetoric in place of real political vision. This year, it’s not even committing to that”


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