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Weekly Economic Update - Bubble in Trouble?

In late 2017, Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, wrote a long essay on price bubbles, asserting that a bubble isn’t a bubble unless it bursts. At that point there was a lot of concern that housing was heading for one. Today we appear to be in the midst of a slow leak. There i...

02.15.2019

Weekly Economic Update - Job Gains, Missing Homes

We’re still waiting for most of the shutdown-delayed housing data to come out of the Census Bureau, but we did get another excellent Employment Situation report. There were 304,000 new jobs created in January, almost twice what analysts were expecting. Tempering the news a bit was a 90,000 do...

02.08.2019

Weekly Economic Update - Patience Rewarded

The Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis have begun to catch up on economic and housing data reports delayed because of the partial government shutdown. First out of the gate was the Census Bureau’s new home sales report for November, originally scheduled for release at the end of...

02.01.2019

Weekly Economic Update - Blindsided

Existing home sales were approaching the end of the year on a promising note. Monthly data from the National Association of Realtors had shown sales slipping in May, June, July…. Then in October there was an unexpected rebound, not a big one, an increase of 1.4% from September, but still a we...

01.25.2019

Weekly Economic Update - Signs of Spring?

The January’s mortgage application numbers are often skewed by a post-holiday “getting back to business” mindset; the first week after the holiday is always pretty wild. But last week’s report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) was extraordinary. Instead of settling ...

01.18.2019

Weekly Economic Update - Year-End Blockbuster Report

The December Employment Situation report was a total blockbuster. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 312,000 jobs were created during the month, the strongest showing since February 2017. Analyst had much lower expectations; the Econoday consensus of 180,000 was typical. There were also up...

01.11.2019

Weekly Economic Update - Let's Play Catch-Up

Wow! What a couple of weeks. A roller coaster ride on Wall Street, another Fed rate hike, more tepid home sales news, and a partial government shutdown. In spite of it all, most of us managed to celebrate our special traditions surrounding a half dozen religious and secular holidays. We hope you wer...

01.04.2019

Weekly Economic Update - Every Cloud has…

The economic news over the last few weeks hasn’t been bad, but it does indicate things are slowing down. This week’s news one both jobs and consumer prices shored up this view.  But economists prefer to see this as some moderation.  And when t...

12.14.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Flattend, Not Falling

We planned to continue catching up from Thanksgiving by giving out full attention to the home sales reports we skipped over last week. Other matters suddenly intervened and existing, new, and pending sales got less ink than we planned. The headlines go instead to the tumbli...

12.07.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Higher Loan Limits

You come back from a holiday and always find the in-box stuffed. This week we catch up on lots of news – new loan limits, lackadaisical construction data, and two price reports.  There were also three home sales reports and we didn’t want to give them s...

11.30.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Cool Do

CoreLogic is pointing to an apparent shift in California real estate. While the market, while has been a great one for sellers, hasn’t yet flipped to the other extreme, September sales, not to mention those through much of the summer, indicate that buyer urgency is moderati...

11.16.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Releasing Some Pressure

A strong Employment Situation report is generally viewed as increasing inflationary pressures, however the September version, with its strong 250,000 new jobs, caught the eye of at least one set of analysts as doing the opposite. Slowing wages gains, while not happy news for work...

11.09.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Slower Appreciation Has Upside

There was more proof this week that home price increases may be, at a minimum, Both the NAR and S&P Case-Shiller indices showed smaller annual increases in August than in July. This could alleviate some affordability concerns while a Case-Shiller executive waves off thou...

11.02.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Market Shifiting

The past week was all about home sales, and the results were mixed. Both existing and new homes sales were down–again–while pending sales managed a small increase. The pending sales numbers are only considered more than marginally encouraging because they may indicate...

10.26.2018

Weekly Economic Update -- Better Than it Looks

The headlines for the Census Bureau’s residential construction report didn’t look so red hot. Permits, starts, and completions were all down and all missed analysts’ predictions. But digging deeper, the lower numbers were hiding some good news for single-family construction and ...

10.19.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Crossing the Line

It may have felt like the era of low interest rates just ended, but as the 30-year conforming mortgage rose above 5% for the first time in seven years last month it was really just a blip in a long history of lower but usually much higher rates. Then too, home prices now app...

10.12.2018

Weekly Economic Update - FICO Scores Way Up

Consumers have apparently learned a lesson from the housing crisis and are using credit more judiciously. FICO, the credit score people, say there is a new record high average score for the nation and scores have increased especially fast over the last few years.   One ...

10.05.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Increase Not a Shock

To no one’s shock, the Federal Reserve hiked its benchmark interest rate at the September Open Market Committee meeting this week. It cites the strong economy as a reason and almost pinkie swore another increase before year end. The strong economy however has one weak spot,&nbs...

09.28.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Down is Up

Construction permits posted another bad month in August, but housing starts rose by a gratifying amount. At least until a closer look revealed the near double digit gains from July were almost all in multi-family housing. Single-family starts rose to only a small degree and remain beh...

09.21.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Jobs, Wages & the FOMC

The Employment Situation report was a bit of a double-edged sword. Lots of jobs created, unemployment unchanged at its nearly non-existent level, and a very strong uptick in wages. All good so far. However, at least one source thinks the report will prompt the Fed to raise i...

09.14.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Lot Sizes Shrinking

Welcome back from summer. It appears the housing newsmakers haven’t yet unpacked their pens and calculators from their beach bags, but there were a few interesting info-bits floating around.  It isn’t your imagination that you neighbors seem closer than ever. New&nbs...

09.07.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Home Sales Trilogy

The last of the three monthly home sales reports was out this week, the one tracking pending home sales.  Like the two that were released last week, it also continued to show the housing market cooling. This isn’t necessarily bad news, especially for those in...

08.31.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Home Sales Update

Both new and existing home sales were disappointing in July. The numbers for new home sales fell for the second month and existing homes for the fourth time.  But while the latter has been lagging their 2017 monthly numbers for most of this year, new home sales are...

08.24.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Builders Skittish?

Residential construction numbers continue to be sluggish. While they improved over those in June, July numbers are still not what analysts and the housing industry are hoping to see.  Builders aren’t clicking their heels together the way they were at the end ...

08.17.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Cool Down?

There is both data and growing sentiment among consumers that home price growth might finally be leveling off. Two price indices released this week indicate that prices rose during the spring market as usual, but not with their recent irrational exuberance. An...

08.10.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Big Picture

The economy’s strong performance in the second quarter—the GDP rose more than 4%—didn’t scare the Fed. They say the economy isn’t overheating and kept rates fixed at their meeting this week. They still seem committed to two more hikes this year....

08.03.2018

Weekly Economic Update - Summer Sales Sag

Despite a bit of growth in the existing home inventory and a bit of a dip in new home prices, sales of each were down in June.  It was the third straight month that existing homes were down, and they are now lower year-over-year. The Libor may not be a familiar name, but it...

07.27.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Fed Chair Speaks

New Fed Chair Jerome Powell assured both houses of Congress that the economy is in great shape.  Oh yeah, and rates are going to continue to rise. Residential construction had a horrid June. Housing starts plunged and permits dipped, but both managed to...

07.20.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Flat or Curvy?

Lots of talk over the past few weeks about yield curves.  Lots of anxious talk.  What is a yield curve?  Why is its current shape scaring investors? Should it? We investigate.   The housing markets (and a lot of parents) heaved a sigh of relief ...

07.06.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Southern Exposure

It was supposed to be about home sales, but the news this week took a slight detour into the prices of those homes. Pending sales had another bad month and, while new home sales were up nationally, outside the South they weren’t. New home prices were down as well....

06.29.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Mixed Messages

Housing news sent some mixed messages this week. Home builders are pretty sure their houses will sell if they can get them built, but that is steadily growing more difficult. Still housing starts are waaaay higher than last year, even as permitting slows.   &n...

06.22.2018

Weekly Economic Update-In Great Shape

The Fed’s Open Market Committee met this week, declared the economy to be in “great shape,” and raised interest rates. Their concern has switched from stimulating the economy to managing inflation, and they promised more rate hikes this year and next.  ...

06.17.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Can't Win For Losing

There was another strong Employment Situation Report in May, with more than 200,000 new jobs. Wages, which have stubbornly stable, rose as well and that has economists worried. They see the looming specter of inflation which means further and faster Federal Reserve rate...

06.08.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Grazie Italia

Interest rates fell back this week; in the case of mortgage rates it was the first decline in a month. The reason was the classic “flight to safety” that economists love to cite. In this case investors were fleeing some scary government goings-on in Italy. Home ...

06.01.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Shifting Directions

Both new and existing home sales reversed direction, again. April wasn’t a good month for either, and the western region of the country put on a particularly lackluster show.   The good news was a substantial boost to inventories since March, but they are still well be...

05.25.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Builders Optimistic

The National Association of Home Builders said their members are “buoyed” by demand for single family houses. Still, that confidence isn’t translating into production. The Census Bureau reports builders pulled fewer permits in April and started building few...

05.18.2018

Weekly Economic Update-JOLTS And Jobs

After remaining at a low, low 4.1% for months, the unemployment rate pushed even lower last month, dropping to 3.9% and calling forth reports of “full employment.” The Employment Situation report for the month also noted the creation of 164,000 new jobs. Th...

05.11.2018

Weekly Economic Update- Relatively Speaking

Mortgage rates finally took a breather this week, declining slightly after a nearly uninterrupted climb since the first of the year. Rates opened the year at a still historically low 3.95% but have increased in all but four of the 18 weeks that have elapsed since. Last week they hit the highest lev...

05.04.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Spring Sales Spring

Even though some parts of the country are convinced winter will never end, home sales seem to be getting in the mood for spring. Both new and existing home reports posted decent numbers, strong enough to boost new home sales ahead of last year and bring existing sales close to that level. Home pric...

04.27.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Getting Brighter

The worrisome home construction numbers from February were partially offset by this week’s report on March building activity. The good news was muted however because the improvement was due to strong gains in multifamily building.  The Census Bureau has added a new set of numbers to the r...

04.19.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Lowering the Temperature

The employment picture wasn’t quite as bright in the first quarter of 2018 as in the last one in 2017, largely because of a disappointing March report. Weather was probably to blame for the drop in construction jobs, but unemployment was stable and wages were up.  ...

04.13.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Curve Ball

Another month, another price increase. Are we near an affordability breaking point? We might never know as Freddie Mac publishes more evidence that we could become a nation of renters: Voluntarily.   Every week we publish a round of economic indicators. Home prices, interest...

04.06.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Swinging Into Spring

Spring seems to be bursting out all over, but the housing market is confronting some headwinds (although we prefer the term vernal zephyrs), like high home prices, short inventories, and rising rates. This week we learned that pending home sales had rebounded strongly after two v...

03.30.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Fed Watch

To hardly anyone’s surprise, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) ended its March meeting with a unanimous vote to raise the fed funds rate. Citing expectations that “economic activity will expand at a moderate pace in the medium term and labor market conditions will remain strong,&r...

03.23.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Generational Trends

Here's this week's eWeekly Economic Update with a focus on Generational Trends in Real Estate. Last Friday’s Employment Situation report for February was a standout. There were an estimated 313,000 new jobs created during the month, 80,000 above the highest prediction made by analysts...

03.16.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Bulls And Bears

Americans may be going a little wobbly in their attitudes toward housing if February’s National Housing Survey is correct. The survey and the resulting index Fannie Mae constructs from some of the results, show less enthusiasm about the wisdom of buying and selling coupled ...

03.09.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Serious Sales Stall

Home sales have been having a bit of a bad go. Sales of newly constructed homes have fallen significantly for two months in a row, and the Pending Home Sales Index for January didn’t bode well for future sales, falling to a near four-year low.   Three home price index&...

03.02.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Yin & Yang

The yin and yang of housing news this week was a very good construction report and the second bad one in a row for existing home sales. Those sales are now running below those a year ago. Together however they point toward an increase in housing inventories. This could ...

02.23.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Gyrations

Wall Street grabbed the headlines again this week, but the print was a lot smaller. Volatility still ruled and there were some crazy days, but the general trend was positive, and the Dow gained back about a third of its losses from the wild week that preceded it.  NAR noted a little softening ...

02.16.2018

Weekly Economic Update-How Now Dow Jones

The big new of the week was obviously the unprecedented gyrations on Wall Street. Stocks plummeted from record highs, wiping out trillions of dollars of paper money, only to swing back to the high side, then fall again. Experts say such volatility may be the new normal for a while. ...

02.09.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Picking Up The Pieces

Lots of items to cover this week from home sales and prices to homeownership and the Fed. It was a week of bits and pieces rather than any major news. Home sales, prices, and some broader economic indicators all had a brief turn on the stage. Pending home sales finished up 2017 with a third consec...

02.02.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Great Year For Homes Sales

Last week's key indicators confirmed that 2017 was a great year for home sales. It's the most number of sales in eleven years.  Both existing and new home sales had a rough December, but each had an excellent year. It was, in fact, the best year for existing home sales in 11 years, and...

01.26.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Weak End to a Strong Year

December construction numbers were weak, some even weaker than expected, but overall it was a good year for home building. The Census Bureau says permits, housing starts, and completions all had higher numbers than in 2016. Interest rates are on the move, rising 9 basis points i...

01.19.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Construction Jobs Rise

Despite a rather disappointing jobs report, unemployment remained at a 17-year low. Wages are finally responding to the tight market; growth picked up the pace at year’s end. While rising home prices are tough for those wishing to own a home, many who already do are counti...

01.12.2018

Weekly Economic Update-Catching Up

A lot happened during the past two weeks, and most of it fell on the positive side of the ledger. All three home sales reports covering November activity were up, although by wildly varying degrees. Home prices continued to increase, and the rate of those increases were...

01.05.2018

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