Morning Report: Zillow forecasts that 2021 could be the best year for housing since 1983

Vital Statistics:

 

  Last Change
S&P futures 3690 5.3
Oil (WTI) 47.21 -0.74
10 year government bond yield   0.93%
30 year fixed rate mortgage   2.78%

Stocks are flattish this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are flat.

 

The House and Senate passed a stimulus bill and a funding bill. It allows for $600 checks to be sent to most Americans.

 

The third revision to Q3 GDP came in at 33.4%. Personal consumption expenditures rose 41%. These were both upside revisions.

 

Corporate profits rose 10.3% in the third quarter, which was a downward revision.

 

The number of mortgages in forbearance was unchanged at 5.49% last week, according to the MBA. “The share of loans in forbearance has stayed fairly level since early November, often with small decreases in the GSE loan share and increases for Ginnie Mae loans,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “That was the case last week. Additionally, forbearance requests from Ginnie Mae borrowers reached the highest level since the week ending June 14. Additional restrictions on businesses and rising COVID-19 cases are causing a renewed increase in layoffs and other signs of slowing economic activity. These troubling trends will likely result in more homeowners seeking relief.”

 

The spring selling season should be the biggest in 40 years, according to Zillow estimates. They expect that there will be a rush for buyers to get into the market before rates rise in the second half of 2021. I suspect that there is a lot of pent-up demand and supply from last spring, where sellers pulled homes off the market because they were worried about strangers entering their homes. Zillow is looking for home sales to hit 6.9 million units, the highest number since 1983.

 

Existing home sales fell 2.5% MOM to an annualized rate of 6.69 million units. This is still up 26% compared to a year ago. The median home price rose 15% to $310,600. Total for-sale inventory fell to 2.3 months worth, a record low. Homes were on the market for 21 days on average. First time homebuyers accounted for 32% of all sales. Historically that number has been closer to 40%. While low mortgage rates are helping improve affordability, rapid price increases are having the opposite effect.

11 Responses

    • Thanks Mark.

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      • More: How taxes work on PPP:

        https://nelson.cpa/how-taxes-work-for-ppp-loans/

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        • Mark:

          I am genuinely curious about what right-wing policy proposal you would rate to be the equivalent on an “amazing” scale to the idea that the covid vaccine should be distributed on the basis of race.

          Personally I don’t think the right comes even close to producing radical and disturbing ideas in the way that the left manages to, especially if you weight those ideas by the amount of traction they get and respect they are afforded within mainstream institutions of their respective movements. In some ways I think this actually makes some sense, given the very nature of what the progressive (we need change!) and conservative (we should be wary of change!) movements are. But it might also be the case that what it takes to amaze me with regard to right wing ideas is a lot different than what it takes to amaze you. Hence my question, so I can have some sense of the scale you are using when you say that what the left thinks amazes you as much as what the right thinks.

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        • Scott, I have no worries about the near right or near left, and never did. The fringes are always either laughable or terrifying.

          I will give you this: The WaPos of the world are far more likely to publish a crazy notion [e.g., one Chicano = two votes] from the left fringe than the WSJ is likely to publish Q anon BS about cabals of child pornographers in pizza parlors in DC. But the twitterverse has shattered RWR’s “trust but verify” notion and is the refuge of every goofy conspiracy theory, and the current R POTUS goes there, and has a following.

          I find amazing on the right Q anon, of course. And at least one Congresscritter ran on it and won, even in an R primary. But also I find amazing some stuff I have seen repeated here! By people I respect, BTW.

          For example, Kev repeated the notion that Dominion machines might have changed votes. But not, of course, in the majority of counties in which they were placed, which voted for Trump.

          For example, some of you thought it was unusual that Ds voted heavily absentee while Rs voted heavily on ED, after months of Trump calling for Rs to vote on ED and D leaders telling their voters to stay safe and either vote early at uncrowded polls or mail-in. Then R state legislators in some states voted to delay absentee tallies until close of ED. Some R states like Texas and Utah count absentee ballots first, so in Texas Ds led in early voting. In GA and AZ absentee votes and early ballots were counted last. So Biden caught up. It was obviously going to happen. That Biden was more popular than HRC was obvious at all relevant times, and HRC had done fairly well while losing AZ and GA.

          Then lots of R Congressmen put their names to a worthless original jurisdiction case. Apparently many Rs think the election was stolen by clever Ds, but somehow the same clever Ds were too stupid to manufacture Senators, at the same time.

          You were not impressed by courts, most of which had R judges, throwing out claims and allegations unsupported by evidence. You were impressed by a viral video out of GA that showed the election officials [half D and half R] picking up ballot boxes from under the table, as they had been doing all day. FOX commentators trumpeted false claims continually until after the Electoral College voted. This is the kind of fevered BS that goes on at the right fringe but catches on, occasionally, at FOX, and then with rational folks.

          And here is the worst one out there right now: Gen. Flynn calling for martial law so the Army can re-run the election.

          I don’t know who has the most goofy ideas in either volume or substance. But like porn, I do know goofdom when I see it.

          Like

        • For example, Kev repeated the notion that Dominion machines might have changed votes. But not, of course, in the majority of counties in which they were placed, which voted for Trump.

          It’s possible I said that, I guess, but I may not have been clear or perhaps was not providing enough detail. But I’d certainly concede to the possibility the Dominion machines could have changed votes, allow things they almost certainly shouldn’t if the goal is clarity and transparency (and I said the same sorts of things about Diebold went it was mostly the left attacking them, because it was true of the Diebold machines and is true of the Dominion machines, as far as I know, myself never having been able to execute a security audit of either system).

          Texas’s rejection of Dominion: https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/forms/sysexam/dominion-d-suite-5.5-a.pdf … isn’t specific but clearly there are questions about Dominion.

          But the short answer is while such systems can be hardened, digital data will always be much more fungible than, say, paper ballots and fungible in a much larger way. Simple query errors could potentially lead to double-counting and triple-counting and quadruple-counting of votes. Testing functions could be exploited to insert fraudulent votes. General functionality meant to make it more flexible or user friendly could also potentially be exploited.

          From a development standpoint, you frequently don’t (or it is much, much harder) to develop digital systems to prevent misuse, especially by those with administrative access. Not impossible, just much harder. So in a widely deployed system, exploits are much more likely a problem than intrinsic error. And some kinds of misuse cannot be prevented–if you, as a user, say this stack of false ballots are legitimate, then feed them through the machine–how can you design a system to prevent that kind of intentional misuse? It would be extraordinarily difficult.

          My position is a forensic audit is more than appropriate. I would say this pretty much about any digital voting solution. They are vulnerable. They will be exploitable. The more niche the product is, likely the more easy it is to exploit. There is always the potential that the developers or independent contractors or just one wily programmer was in a position to intentionally insert exploits. This sort of stuff happens and it’s happening more often now than it used to.

          And as I think I said at the time, all of this is independent of any assertion that Trump was robbed or that Biden won fraudulently. I’m very dubious of specific things, if what I’ve seen is accurate (the huge jump in votes, all at once, suggest at least a terribly insecure protocol for compiling votes is in place).

          But my position is not partisan in regards to politics, but is entirely biased in terms of having dealt with many, many digital systems, having had to develop data systems, and, of course, seeing this process (including the purchasing of software) run through a government office (in this case, a public school system, but it’s a good stand in for government bureaucracy).

          My guess is a forensic audit and security testing that included people with typical purchaser admin privileges trying to abuse the system would reveal they are remarkably easy to exploit. Just base on life experience with all sorts of such systems.

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        • That Biden was more popular than HRC was obvious at all relevant times, and HRC had done fairly well while losing AZ and GA.

          While I think that’s a subjective assessment, I have to agree. I like Biden better than HRC.

          You were not impressed by courts, most of which had R judges, throwing out claims and allegations unsupported by evidence.

          I’ve said from the outset that I have no objection (and, not being a lawyer, not in a great position to judge the potential legal quality of the claims being made) to Trump and others mounting court challenges, or the courts throwing them out or ruling against them. All seems legitimate to me.

          You were impressed by a viral video out of GA that showed the election officials [half D and half R] picking up ballot boxes from under the table, as they had been doing all day.

          My point was that it seemed odd. As I understood it (or as the narrative was shaped), they were doing this after telling poll watchers to “go home, they were done for the day”. And this was excused as being “oh, we just sent home tired people who might make mistakes, and kept the good people who wouldn’t make mistakes” or something. But apparently that involved sending home Republican poll watchers with the insistence the counting had stopped. If true, that seems highly suspect to me. If not true, then perhaps it’s all fine.

          And here is the worst one out there right now: Gen. Flynn calling for martial law so the Army can re-run the election.

          Fair enough, he’s saying kind of nutty shit, at least for the contemporary moment.

          Like

        • Mark:

          I will give you this: The WaPos of the world are far more likely to publish a crazy notion [e.g., one Chicano = two votes] from the left fringe than the WSJ is likely to publish Q anon BS about cabals of child pornographers in pizza parlors in DC.

          And to me this is obvious evidence that the leftist notions which you (and I) think are crazy are not, in fact, as “fringe” as you seem to want to believe. In any event, thanks for answering my question.

          For example, some of you thought it was unusual that Ds voted heavily absentee while Rs voted heavily on ED, after months of Trump calling for Rs to vote on ED and D leaders telling their voters to stay safe and either vote early at uncrowded polls or mail-in.

          I think you may have misunderstood. I don’t think anyone here thought it was odd that D’s voted more heavily by mail than R’s. In fact, it was precisely that expectation that made the loosening up of mail-in voting regulations by judges and Democratic election officials all the more troubling. If we expected R’s to be just as likely to vote by mail as D’s, then any of the obvious and well-known problems that arise from widespread mail-in voting would not be expected to necessarily benefit one side or the other.

          I think when we spoke about unusual voting patterns by mail, we were talking about comparing the relative weighting of mail-in votes per candidate in certain crucial places with that in other, not so crucial places, and if they were drastically different, it would be an indication that something was amiss.

          You were not impressed by courts, most of which had R judges, throwing out claims and allegations unsupported by evidence.

          I don’t think I expressed an opinion about any of the court cases that alleged election fraud. The only court cases I recall passing judgment on were those that revolved around judges or election officials exercising unlawful power to change existing election laws, which most definitely did happen. I think I did object to the suggestion that cases were brought “without evidence”, for the simple reason that it was a false claim. Eyewitness testimony and affidavits may not be definitive or conclusive or dispositive evidence, but they are evidence nonetheless, and they do exist.

          You were impressed by a viral video out of GA that showed the election officials [half D and half R] picking up ballot boxes from under the table, as they had been doing all day.

          That is most definitely incorrect. What impressed me about that video was not that they picked up ballot boxes from under a table, but rather that 1) it seemed to confirm claims that observers were not allowed to be in close enough proximity to actually observe the counting and 2) it showed the counting room being cleared of all observers and all but 4 election workers under the guise that counting was to stop for the evening, while those 4 remaining workers proceeded to count votes for another 2 hours after everyone else had left. I mentioned that video exactly twice. The first time I said:

          Have any of you watched the surveillance footage of the vote counting in Georgia? Wholly apart from the ballots that were broken out from under a table and counted after they told observers to go home for the night, I am trying to figure out how observers could have possibly been observing anything, even when they were in the room. I can’t see observers in close enough proximity to any ballot counters to be able to confirm that they are doing things properly. The WaPo et al have told us that claims that observers were kept at a distance so as to prevent them from doing their job has been “debunked”, but i have looked at the video and those claims actually seemed to be confirmed by it.

          The second time I mentioned the video was in response to your claim that no evidence of any election impropriety existed, and I said:

          I don’t know if it was presented in any court case, but there is a video that seems to show 4 poll workers in Georgia counting ballots for two hours after everyone else, including official observers from each party, were removed from the room. That is a significant impropriety.

          And here is the worst one out there right now: Gen. Flynn calling for martial law so the Army can re-run the election.

          This is a good example, and I think it will be instructive to watch and compare the mainstream right reaction to Flynn on this with the mainstream left’s reaction to calls back in 2016/17 for a “Resistance” movement among federal workers to actively undermine the president’s ability to implement his policies.

          Like

  1. A useful reality check on the Russian hacking allegations:

    “Self-Delusion on the Russia Hack
    The U.S. regularly hacks foreign governmental computer systems on a massive scale.

    Jack Goldsmith
    Dec 18”

    https://thedispatch.com/p/self-delusion-on-the-russia-hack

    Like

  2. Joe Biden:

    One thing I promise you about my leadership during this crisis: I’m going to tell it to you straight. I’m going to tell you the truth. And here is the simple truth: Our darkest days in the battle against Covid are ahead of us, not behind us.

    Now that the Electoral College has spoken, this is definitely something JB and I agree on: our darkest days are ahead of us.

    Like

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