Morning Report: Builder Confidence Falls

Vital Statistics:

S&P futures3,77080.50
Oil (WTI)84.67-0.78
10 year government bond yield 3.99%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 6.98%

Stocks are higher this morning as earnings continue to surprise on the upside. Bonds and MBS are down.

Industrial Production rose 0.4% in September, according to the Federal Reserve. July and August were revised downward. Capacity Utilization rose to 80.3%. Interestingly, construction was a big contributor to growth, increasing 1.1%. Given the anecdotal evidence we are seeing regarding a housing recession I think there is a decent chance that this might be a spurious data point, although seasonality could be at play here as well.

Builder mortgage applications fell 13% YOY in September, according to the MBA. “New home purchase activity declined in September as prospective homebuyers pulled back in response to higher mortgage rates, increased concern about an impeding recession, and a broader slowdown in home-price growth,” said Joel Kan, MBA Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased almost a full percentage point in the last month, greatly reducing the purchasing power of many home shoppers. MBA’s estimate of new home sales declined 9 percent in September, partially reversing the 18 percent increase in August during that brief period when mortgage rates decreased.”

Builder confidence continues to fall, as the NAHB / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index declined to 38, half the level it was six months ago. “This will be the first year since 2011 to see a decline for single-family starts,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “And given expectations for ongoing elevated interest rates due to actions by the Federal Reserve, 2023 is forecasted to see additional single-family building declines as the housing contraction continues. While some analysts have suggested that the housing market is now more ‘balanced,’ the truth is that the homeownership rate will decline in the quarters ahead as higher interest rates and ongoing elevated construction costs continue to price out a large number of prospective buyers.”

Regionally, the Northeast did the best, while the West did the worst.

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