Morning Report: Housing affordability declines

Vital Statistics:


  Last Change
S&P futures 3763 14.3
Oil (WTI) 48.72 0.24
10 year government bond yield   0.94%
30 year fixed rate mortgage   2.78%

Stocks are higher this morning on strong overseas economic data. Bonds and MBS are down small.


This week contains a lot of Fed-speak as well as the FOMC minutes on Wednesday. On Friday, we will get the jobs report. On Tuesday, the GA Senate runoff elections will happen, and that could be market-moving as well. Gridlock will be more positive for the markets than an aggressively leftist one will be.


Joe Biden is setting up for an aggressive regulatory state, at least on the environmental side. I have to imagine he will do the same thing on the financial side.


The decrease in interest rates has pushed up housing prices and is making homes less affordable, according to data from ATTOM. “Owning a home in the United States slipped into the unaffordable zone for average workers across the nation in the fourth quarter as the numbers continued a year-long slide in the wrong direction,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “The latest housing market data shows the average worker unable to meet the 28 percent affordability guideline used by lenders. That’s happened as home prices have continued rising throughout 2020 and the housing market has remained remarkably resilient in the face of the brutal economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The future remains wholly uncertain and affordability could swing back into positive territory. But for now, things are going in the wrong direction for buyers.”


New York State bans evictions. It also prevents lenders from foreclosing on landlords who own 10 or fewer units.

45 Responses

  1. Stocks don’t seem to be up anymore.


  2. This from the same governor who said he wouldn’t automatically approve any vaccine that the FDA approved because he didn’t trust them.

    If they really wanted to get the vaccines distributed as soon as possible, they would ditch the prioritization lists in favor of first come – first served and turn the whole process over to Chick-Fil-A.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun with math, but for every million or so people vaccinated at least some number of them (5, 10, 20) will die mysteriously just because they were always going to die mysteriously and just happened to have had the vaccine shortly before they died mysteriously, as scheduled.

    I’m guessing in certain sectors that will get played up and distract from the likely smaller number who legitimately have a negative reaction to the vaccine. But the more rapid and harder they push it, likely the noisier the people who have a loved one die shortly after will yell about it and be convinced it was the vaccine that did it, irrespective of actual cause.


  4. There is a logistic hangup woth the Pfizer vaccines. Shipped in containers of ten doses, when a container is opened the ten doses must be used within six hours. So 10 folks have to be lined up for each container to be opened. Outside the hospital workers themselves, this is a problem for everyone else. Pharmacists in Texas are being asked to find ten old people at a time to schedule. Individual pharmacists, like my daughter, are scheduling ten at a time.

    Slow process.


    • Hence why they should ditch the prioritization lists in favor of vaccinating whomever is available as soon as possible.


      • Maybe so. But it would make sense to hit the nursing homes and retirement communities early on even as a logistics matter.


        • They’d rather it not be given out at all than the wrong people get it or the wrong people get credit for it:

          “On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the Cuomo administration to allow the inoculation of a broader array of essential workers and New Yorkers who are 75 and older.

          “There’s lots more we can do if we have both those categories approved,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference on Monday.

          The state has had a deliberate approach in distributing the vaccine; until Monday, the vaccinations were almost exclusively given to health care workers, group home residents, and those living and working at nursing homes.

          Mr. Cuomo rejected any notion that his administration was at fault for not distributing more vaccines, asserting that the problem was a local issue, and urging Mr. de Blasio and other leaders who oversee public hospital systems to take “personal responsibility” for their performance.”


        • I can’t see how anybody can like either of these guys after all this. Worse than Trump, personality-wise–and not nearly as positively correlated with a strong economy.


        • De Blasio actually sounds like the sane one, so you know it’s bad.

          “Why don’t we stop talking about fines and start talking about the freedom to vaccinate, letting the professionals do their jobs,” de Blasio said during his own Tuesday news conference. He said the state’s measure “doesn’t get anyone anywhere. That just paralyzes people.”


        • I love it when they fight.


  5. This is interesting. Burn the American flag, a-OK. Burn a BLM banner: straight to jail.


    • It’s funny, the NYT calls the Proud Boys “far right” but does not describe BLM as “far left”. Is their far leftism even in dispute?


    • I will be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts the ACLU supports the government’s actions…


    • Bragging about doing it in the Washington Post was pretty stupid. It’s a direct provocation to the police and prosecutors daring them to arrest him.


    • It’s OK to burn your own flag [any kind] but not someone else’s. It is a property concept.


      • I don’t think it is about a $20 banner


        • No, but they did leave themselves open to that vector of prosecution, where as they should have had their own printed (with documentation and receipts to prove such, and also make their printing of it public knowledge) and then burned it as an expression of free speech.


        • Yeah, people get all emotionally f–ked up about banners.

          But as crime, it is misdemeanor level property destruction, unless the flag is an antique, or silk, or gold laced, etc.

          And you can burn your own, within limits. I remember during the VN War that was how we determined whether to prosecute. Who owned the flag? If it was the elementary school’s flag, no mercy. If it was the marcher’s flag, we looked at fire hazard ordinances, but otherwise left it alone.

          Are they going to make it a hate crime in DC? Wouldn’t surprise me, but wouldn’t surprise me if a fed court threw that out, either.


        • Does anybody think the police would spend anytime investigation the theft and destruction of, say, an American flag? I don’t.


        • I do. At least from a prominent display.


        • “But as crime, it is misdemeanor level property destruction, unless the flag is an antique, or silk, or gold laced, etc.”

          They are charging him with felonies as well due to finding extended magazines in the car when he was arrested:

          “Sternbeck said Tarrio is charged with one misdemeanor count of destruction of property in connection with the Dec. 12 burning of a banner stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church.

          Tarrio had told The Washington Post last month that he was among those who burned the banner.

          Police said Tarrio, who was in custody Monday evening, also was charged with two felony counts of possession of high-capacity ammunition feeding devices, which is a legal term for a magazine that allows guns to hold additional bullets. The devices were found during the arrest, police said.”


  6. Scott, I think you will find this a worthwhile read:

    “Meet the Censored: Mark Crispin Miller
    The NYU Professor becomes the latest academic to fall afoul of idea police”

    Matt Taibbi


    • jnc:

      Scott, I think you will find this a worthwhile read:

      Yes, thanks. The observation about the mindless and reflexive resort to charges of bigotry regardless of the underlying charge, which is spot on, would be hilarious if the consequences weren’t so serious. “He is telling people not to wear masks. So as defenders of trans-people and opponents of white supremacy, we must call for his dismissal!”

      It has truly become impossible to parody the progressive left. Speaking of which, have you heard of Titania McGrath?


      • No, I hadn’t.

        Reading the piece shows that the woke are just easily predictable once you follow their arguments to their logical conclusion.


      • This sentence from Taibbi’s piece shows the root of all the problems with the woke witch hunt:

        “And he told me that a student had gone on Twitter and demanded that I be fired.”

        Anyone in a position of authority should ignore Twitter complaints. If it’s going to impact someone’s job, any complaints need to go through the regular channels. Overreaction to Woke Twitter BS is a common thread here.


  7. Scott and Brent, what do you think of this?


    • I would support a variant of it where they can trade on insider information provided that it’s disclosed at the time of the trade thus becoming public.

      I.e. If they disclose it while executing the trade they get a Get Out of Jail Free card/safe harbor provision.

      Trying to stop insider trading is about as futile as the war on drugs. And I don’t really care if they are trading based on the info. I just want to know what they know too.


      • Makes sense to me. Only way to avoid insider info is to publicize the trades at once. If everyone can be an insider than no one has an unfair advantage.

        Probably the closest I ever got to that was when I owned 2 shares of Berkshire Hathaway, riding the coattails of the insider.


    • Mark:

      Scott and Brent, what do you think of this?

      I am of two minds on this. On one hand, I totally agree with jnc. On the other, when it comes specifically to elected representatives, if draconian restrictions on access to the investment markets under the guise of preventing insider trading act as a disincentive to spending a lifetime in government, then I am all for them.


    • I think it is bullshit that the government imposes new regulatory costs on the private sector in order to prevent the government from doing something unethical.


  8. A 180 on the characterization of the riots now that Trump has lost the election:

    “Portland mayor promises to ‘hold people responsible’ after 2 days of vandalism, violence
    Updated Jan 01, 2021; Posted Jan 01, 2021

    Wheeler sought to put the focus on businesses harmed by the vandalism and cast the people who gathered downtown as extremists seeking to cause destruction and violence rather than promote change. He described the crowds in recent days as “violent antifa and anarchists” and said they were “rampaging” through downtown, causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage to taxpayer and private properties including damaging businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.”


    • I did. if there was a simple way to reduce costs, it would have been done already. But, everyone wants lower costs with the same access/tech/etc. oh, an free choice of provider with no gatekeepers. shocker, it’s expensive.

      the other interesting article was on today’s front page. ER residents who can’t find jobs because of the decline in revenue and ER patients.


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