Morning Report: Homebuyers picking up leverage

Vital Statistics:

S&P futures4,281-29.50
Oil (WTI)86.66-0.67
10 year government bond yield 2.85
30 year fixed rate mortgage 5.41%

Stocks are lower this morning after bad inflation data out of the UK. Bonds and MBS are down.

The big event today will be the FOMC minutes which will be released around 2:00 pm. The bond market had been hoping for a Fed pivot, which has been at least partly behind the decrease in rates since mid-June. The minutes may shed some light the Fed’s thinking here, although the Fed-speak has poured a lot of cold water on that forecast.

Retail sales were flat MOM in July, according to Census. Ex-vehicles they rose 0.4% and ex-vehicles and gas they rose 0.7%. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales rose 10.2%. Note that retail sales are not adjusted for inflation, so on an inflation-adjusted basis they are really up small year-over-year.

Mortgage applications fell by 2.3%, according to the MBA. Refinances fell by 5%, while purchases fell by 1%. “Mortgage application activity was lower last week, with overall applications declining over two percent to their lowest level since 2000,” said Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Home purchase applications continued to be held down by rapidly drying up demand, as high mortgage rates, challenging affordability and a gloomier outlook of the economy kept buyers on the sidelines.”

Homebuyers are beginning to get the negotiating leverage in deals, at least according to a new report from Redfin. Home purchase contracts were canceled at a 16.1% rate in July, which is almost as high as the early days of the pandemic, and much higher than pre-pandemic. “Homes are sitting on the market longer now, so buyers realize they have more options and more room to negotiate. They’re asking for repairs, concessions and contingencies, and if sellers say no, they’re backing out and moving on because they’re confident they can find something better,” said Heather Kruayai, a Redfin real estate agent in Jacksonville, FL. “Buyers are also skittish because they’re afraid a potential recession could cause home prices to drop. They don’t want to end up in a situation where they purchase a home and it’s worth $200,000 less in two years, so some are opting to wait in hopes of buying when prices are lower.”

53 Responses

  1. lms:

    i finished the Atlantic article. The rest was just more of the same as what I mentioned last night. Mostly not even lies, and certainly nothing that would have caused thousands of people to die.

    Most notably indicative of the nature of the Atlantic’s judgement about what constitutes a “lie” was perhaps these, the final two in the piece. (I’m not counting the “lie” that was actually listed last, since it was just a repeat of an earlier one.)

    When: Thursday, August 6
    The claim: A coronavirus vaccine could be ready by Election Day.
    The truth: The timeline Trump proposes contradicts health experts’ consensus that early 2021 is likely the soonest a vaccine could be widely available.

    When: Tuesday, September 29
    The claim: “We’re weeks away from a vaccine,” Trump said at the first debate.
    The truth: Redfield has said a COVID-19 vaccine may not be widely available to the American public until the summer of next year. Two of the three drug companies working on a vaccine have said they hope to have only initial clinical-trial results by the end of this year.

    Pfizer submitted its Emergency Use Authorization request to the FDA on November 20, a mere 2 weeks after election day, and less than 8 weeks after Trump said that “We’re weeks away”. This is the quality of Atlantic’s “lies”.


  2. Scott, I’m sure this won’t persuade you either and I’ll quit trying after this but some of the facts just can’t be denied. I wish I was wrong.

    Since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden. That’s according to a new analysis by NPR that examines how political polarization and misinformation are driving a significant share of the deaths in the pandemic.

    NPR looked at deaths per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the U.S. from May 2021, the point at which vaccinations widely became available. People living in counties that went 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.73 times the death rates of those that went for Biden. Counties with an even higher share of the vote for Trump saw higher COVID-19 mortality rates.

    In October, the reddest tenth of the country saw death rates that were six times higher than the bluest tenth, according to Charles Gaba, an independent health care analyst who’s been tracking partisanship trends during the pandemic and helped to review NPR’s methodology. Those numbers have dropped slightly in recent weeks, Gaba says: “It’s back down to around 5.5 times higher.”

    Misinformation appears to be a major factor in the lagging vaccination rates. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s polling shows Republicans are far more likely to believe false statements about COVID-19 and vaccines. A full 94% of Republicans think one or more false statements about COVID-19 and vaccines might be true, and 46% believe four or more statements might be true. By contrast, only 14% of Democrats believe four or more false statements about the disease.

    Whether you call what Trump was peddling was lies or misinformation, I believe if he had been honest about the threat from the beginning, lives could have been saved.

    I’m sure you’ll all claim that NPR isn’t an independent source for information, the same way you believe that Liz Cheney lost her seat because she wasn’t representing her constituents any longer or whatever other things you might believe about her. I’m behind her and others, whether they’re Republicans, Independents or Democrats, who are standing up against Trump and his vision of America.

    I’ll be offline for a few days so I’ll see y’all later……………maybe……….;-)


    • I’m going to have to weigh in on this one. Trump has actually advocated for people to take the vaccine.

      This is a case of correlation doesn’t equal causation, i.e. it’s not that Trump told people who voted for him not to get the vaccine, but rather vaccine skeptics were more likely to vote for Trump as he was perceived as more anti-establishment.

      Trump actually got booed for advocating for people to get vaccinated.

      This goes to two things that I have issue with regarding how Trump is covered:

      1. He’s become a general catch all boogie-man for everything that progressives dislike about the current state of the world, regardless of his actual actions.

      2. People who claim that Trump supporters are basically sheep like followers who do whatever he says are wrong. The moment Trump steps out of line, they’ll go after him. But what’s important to them isn’t what’s important to progressives hence their belief that his supporters have blinders on.


      • I’m sitting at the bar at Ontario Int’l Airport waiting for my delayed flight to CO and having a glass of wine. Once I land I won’t be reading or responding to anything social media because I’ll just be focusing on my kids and 3 grandsons.

        Anywhoooo…….thanks for responding JNC. I actually did give Trump credit for the vaccines (Warp Speed) and also mentioned that he was booed for advocating them in a previous comment.

        He kind of stopped advocating them after that as far as I know which I think is really too bad.

        I’ve tried very hard not to call his supporters sheep, I don’t think they are…………but I do think that he and those around him created a science denial atmosphere that caused deaths. I also believe that Trump supporters denied the risks of Covid based on his words.

        I actually know personally a few men and women who believed his early denials about the danger and died because of it. One of them was a good friend of my daughter’s in the oil industry. In CO there is a pocket or two of more right leaning folks who are very independent and he was one of them. 27 years old, a fitness freak, very healthy, recently married, well loved and mentored by my daughter. He didn’t survive the first round of Covid. He didn’t think it was dangerous to him, didn’t wear a mask or social distance and thought he was invincible.

        Because our business was in the shit can in early 2020 and I was waiting for a new hip, I watched all the press conferences of Trump and also Newsom here in CA. I witnessed first hand how Trump downplayed the dangers, touted tests that weren’t there, recommended weird treatments and generally just kept saying it was going away soon…………………..

        I actually think the discourse now in politics regarding Mar A Lago, a coup attempt, election denial and attempts to steal an election miss the real point of his dereliction of duty in the Covid response under his watch!

        Okay they’re finally calling my flight………….3 hours late so I’ll see y’all on the other side!


        • lms:

          he and those around him created a science denial atmosphere that caused deaths.

          “Science denial”…you are such a caricature, lms.


        • yep science + politics = politics


        • Okay guys I’m seriously done here now……….you don’t want me here, you don’t want my opinions and basically all you do is insult me……….I’ve tried debating issues, tried giving Trump props for the good things he accomplished but there is no back and forth here………….

          Paying for the domain one more time and next year you’re on your own………….Good luck and peace out!


        • lms:

          you don’t want me here, you don’t want my opinions

          Not true.

          and basically all you do is insult me

          Not true either, unless you think simply questioning and challenging your claims is an insult. If you think being called a caricature is an insult, then I apologize for that one. But seriously, lms…are you really not aware of what a shopworn propaganda tactic of the left it is to call someone who disagrees with you a “science denier”? It is so tired.

          but there is no back and forth here………….

          I don’t think that is at all true, but to the extent that it is, it is almost exclusively due to you refusing to engage substantively.

          Paying for the domain one more time and next year you’re on your own

          I’ve told you on at least 3 separate occasions over the last 5 to 6 years that I am happy to take over payment for the domain, and I’ve given you my email at least twice at your request precisely so you can transfer it to me. You’ve never done it. Here it is again…

          I am more than happy to take it on. Just tell me what you need.


        • Looks like I’m still sitting on an airplane waiting to take off for CO. Luckily I still have access to my phone, email, texts etc.

          Scott, you couldn’t have stabbed a larger knife in my heart than by calling me a caricature………….not sure who you guys are anymore but I’ll keep fighting, just not in your purview…………..I could say a lot more but I’m sure it would just bury me further………


        • When discussing politics with people I find, for me, it’s better not to talk about the other person—keep it more factual. You really don’t get to do that as a politician but when we talk on the Internet I’d think we could afford to.

          Also like to practice the “mother’s rule”—if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!

          I find it sufficient to disagree with people about everything they hold dear, add opinions about the person directly seems a little bit overkill. It’s kind of like saying “you’re wrong! And also you smell”.

          Although I confess I know I’m tilting at windmills on that. Ain’t gonna win that fight!


        • KW:

          I find it sufficient to disagree with people about everything they hold dear, add opinions about the person directly seems a little bit overkill.

          You are right. I shouldn’t have done that.


        • I should be clear this is not a specific criticism of anybody here.

          It’s start of school in my world right now and we haven’t been able to get through a morning staff meeting this week without finger pointing and blame finding. I have pointed out that a lot of time is wasted blaming people, specifically or generally, that probably should be directed at preventing the situations that we don’t like and would like to avoid. I’ve seen multiple examples of the waste of energy of both venting one’s spleen at which department did a bad thing while others get offended and defensive.

          So it’s on my mind. I try to gently argue for being forward looking and thinking of solutions but … it’s a tough case to make when feelings are intense!


        • KW:

          I should be clear this is not a specific criticism of anybody here.

          It’s ok, it could be. I can handle criticism, particularly when it is valid. I shouldn’t have been personal. I try not to be, but sometimes I fail. When I do, I’m fine being called out.


        • I try to be the same way and take criticism as if it’s meant to be constructive, even if it isn’t!

          When I was younger I was sensitive to criticism and would tend to get defensive, and even then I didn’t like that. So I appreciate your openness to constructive criticism, but I did want to make it clear I wasn’t pointing at you (or anybody else) but rather the behavior, which is (unfortunately) fairly universal.

          Especially in the modern era where we have shrugged off the last vestiges of Victorian manners and replaced them with a much more oppressive system of virtue signaling and political correctness. But that’s a different discussion!


        • “but I do think that he and those around him created a science denial atmosphere that caused deaths”

          The problem is that there’s not really any actual evidence of this, and assertions without evidence is not science, rightly understood, IMO.

          In the context of the history of pandemics, the nature of coronaviruses, the mostly likely course of this coronavirus would tend to argue against the idea Trump caused much in the way of excess deaths. There is an argument that some of the most destructive things were the attempts at remediation, especially in regards to lockdowns, school and business closures, focusing on COVID to the exclusion of other health concerns that then went neglected …

          But not enough hard data to say that conclusively. But it doesn’t make sense to me to say Trump and (I guess) the rights “science denial” (which is not a real thing; that’s the characterization of people who want those they dislike to be stupid, evil and ugly rather than real humans they have to consider as human beings) … to say that something Trump and the right is responsible for is again disputed by the facts, which is that more people have died during Biden’s presidency “from” COVID, and deaths per capita were no worse in red states than blue states overall.

          Not saying anybody’s response was perfect (I think the idea that a better response would have somehow prevents hundreds-of-thousands of death involves a tremendous overestimation of the human capacity to control nature) but I don’t see any actual evidence that Trump’s response led to significantly more deaths. Or that Biden’s and the Democrats response led to less—because there is no evidence of that.


    • “Since May 2021”

      Why since May? Why not January 2021? Why not since the beginning of the pandemic?

      My expectation is because a different date would not paint the same picture, and the “research” was done with a specific destination in mind. One that depicts Trump voters and the right general as highly susceptible to misinformation and unable to think for themselves (by, ironically, listening uncritically to the experts, accepting what they say as true without challenge or skepticism and—most importantly—never take the heretical step of “doing your own research”).


      • Looked up the article. From May 2021 to November 2021 there were more deaths “from” COVID in red counties than blue counties. That is the basis for Trump killed all sorts of people and the misinformation right wingers believe because they are stupid killed people.

        My first question would always be—why that specific time frame. Is there not data for April and March? January?


      • KW:

        Why since May?

        My guess is that they would say that by that point, the vaccine was fully rolled out and available to all or at least most adults, while prior to that it wasn’t. So by that point not taking it was a choice. Just guessing, though.


        • That does make sense—although even that suggest the research was done with certain a priori assumptions in operation.


        • KW:

          although even that suggest the research was done with certain a priori assumptions in operation.

          I didn’t delve into the methodology, but I very much doubt that it was a rigorous statistical analysis that controlled for all other relevant factors, for example age. As we all know, the covid mortality rate is very highly correlated with age, and, it turns out, so is party identification. I couldn’t find a poll more recent than this 8yr old one, but people between the ages of 18 and 40 identify as D’s at a much higher rate than they identify as R’s. On the other hand, people who are 70 and up identify as R’s at a much higher rate than they identify as D’s. As it happens, that 70 and up demographic is exactly the one most at risk of dying from covid.

          Could this help explain the different death rates in red counties versus blue counties? Could it be that people in red counties are dying at greater rates not because they are ignorant Trumpkins denying the science, but instead simply because they are older? Of course, although we would have to know the age demographics of the counties to know for sure. But did they bother looking at this factor or controlling for it? I doubt it.

          In general I am always skeptical of these kinds of statistics that feed oh-so-perfectly into pre-determined narratives. But for some people, it is precisely the oh-so-perfect aspect that makes them simply too good to doubt.


        • The claim in the piece is that they controlled for age. They discuss that their methodology was reviewed by an expert but I could not find where they released their methodology to the public.


        • “But did they bother looking at this factor or controlling for it? I doubt it.”

          I honestly don’t think it would occur to them. I suspect the drive to produce to correct narrative is so bone-deep that the only factor the can imagine considering is political orientation. That and possibly level of obeisance to the experts.


      • My expectation is because a different date would not paint the same picture, and the “research” was done with a specific destination in mind.

        IMO , modern social studies is about different ways to cherry pick and data mine. It is all about the narrative. So many papers have zero statistical rigor.

        If you see the terms “linked to” or “associated with” it specifically means that “we tried to get a significant t-stat but we couldn’t, and here is the story we wanted to tell….”


    • No, but the real estate management business is all about blocking and tackling – maintenance cost management, keeping paying tenants in and non-payers out, etc.

      I don’t know how much technology can change that. I don’t know much about how the rent-to-own part works, but I remember hearing that there is some sort of program like that in Texas. Don’t know much about it, though.

      EDIT: Now that I think about it, I might have heard about it from Mark


  3. I read about this a while ago but it haunts my thought. I have a raging, non-stop inner monologue and it’s impossible for me to wrap my head around the concept that some people do not.


  4. Are you all aware of NASA’s Artemis mission to land on the moon? Total cost is going to run around $93 billion thru 2025. And guess what the top, headline goal of the mission is?

    To land the first woman and “person of color” on the moon.

    I shit you not.

    We have mindless, fucking morons running this government and every department in it. Thanks Biden, and every Biden voter.

    (Really should thank Obama and every Obama voter, too. He was the one who really got these sexist and racist policies rolling.)


    • one small step for a they, one giant leap for theykind


    • I’ll take it if it means we go back to the moon. Although with bringing equity to the moon the primary goal, I find it unlikely they’ll get there. But I honestly hope they do.

      But yes the emphasis on fetishizing their own racist and sexist beliefs in every single thing is so, so unproductive.


  5. Lol if true.


    • Even now Trump critics and Democrats continue to call the idea that election was squirrelly The Big Lie.

      My problem isn’t with the idea Biden won, that there was not enough fraud to tip the scales, but like the idea that anybody couldn’t even think such a thing was even possible is CRAZY

      From the same folks tweeting out pictures of mailboxes being removed or mail trucks being towed were evidence of Trump stealing the 2020 election.

      I get why they don’t care if the election was squirrelly because they won, so so what? But to act like it was totally legit or “the most secure election ever” so anyone who doubts it is a lunatic and maybe a Russian stooge … it’s just wrong.


      • Whenever anyone asks my opinion I answer that I don’t know… it has never been investigated. Which is true


  6. There’s an old joke that when he reaches a certain age he has to decide which was he’ll make his pastime. I haven’t reached that age but I’ve looked into both WW2 and the Civil War, and this retired audio of a confederate veteran is fascinating.


    • McWing:

      I have made several wars my pastime at various parts of my life. In college it was Vietnam. Right out of college, it was the American revolution. When Ken Burns’ civil war documentary came out, it became the Civil War. But the one that I have repeatedly come back to time and again is WW II. Literally two days ago I started to listen to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I have a long road trip coming up and I needed a book to listen to in the car, and I was ashamed that I had never read this staple of WWII history. (It’s 57 hours long.)

      I will definitely check out your link. Looks cool.


    • Kind of surprised to read that in WaPo. I though Democracy Died Without Enlightened Censorship of Dangerous Ideas.

      There was link to another opinion piece that started how the Salman Rushdie attack was just like Republicans and Trump agitating for all the violence they want … but then starts in on the censorious left for abandoning free speech!

      They’re going crazy over there.


    • I suppose it is a good thing that this idea is piercing the liberal bubble. But it does demonstrate how deep inside a liberal bubble they exist, that The Atlantic thinks it has discovered some new insight. That this stuff is nothing but a new religion has been recognized on the right for years.


    • Nietzsche’s Will To Power nailed it… it is a religion based fundamentally on resentment that despises strength and success. Just like Catholicism


  7. Every landscape owner I know are billionaires, so this rings true to me.


  8. Liz Cheney: “I will be doing whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.”

    The follow-up question to this statement that I want to hear is: “Would you be willing to literally have him killed?”

    I want to know exactly how serious a “threat to our democracy” she thinks Trump actually is.


  9. What’s funny is that this will help those Republicans. Surely she knows that so what she’s really doing is playing the Democrat Rubes.

    Lol to anybody who supported her!


  10. I’m sure this level of surveillance will stay confined to just child porn.


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