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  • Sun, Nov 23 2014
  • 11:41 PM » Update: Business Cycles and Markets
    Published Sun, Nov 23 2014 11:41 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    For fun ... recently we've seen another recession call for 2015, this time from the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center (following their an incorrect recession call in 2011). Over the last few years, there were several incorrect recession calls from ECRI and others. I disagreed with all of them, and I wrote I wasn't even on recession watch then, and I'm not on recession watch now ! But why do we care? Here is a repeat of a post I wrote in early 2011 (with updated tables and charts): From 2011 [updates in brackets]: Here is something very different. This is NOT intended as investment advice. Why is there so much focus on the business cycle? For companies, especially cyclical companies, the reason is obvious - it helps with planning, staffing and investment. But why are investors so focused on the business cycle? Obviously earnings decline in a recession, and stock prices fall too. The following graph shows the year-over-year (YoY) change in the S&P 500 (using average monthly prices) since 1970. Notice that the market usually declines YoY in a recession. Note: Because this is "year-over-year" there is a lag to the S&P 500 data. [Graph updated to November 2014] Click on graph for larger image. So calling a recession isn't just an academic exercise, there is some opportunity to preserve capital. Not all downturns in the stock market are associated with recessions. As an example, the 1987 market crash was during an economic expansion. And the stock bubble collapse lasted from March 2000 through early 2003 - and the only official economic recession during that period was 7 months in 2001. Although I don't give investment advice, I think investors should measure their performance with some index. Warren Buffett likes to use the S&P 500 index, so I also used the S&P 500 for this exercise. Imagine if we could call recessions in real time, and if we could predict recoveries in advance. The following table shows the performance...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 11:26 PM » The $400 Billion Bond Mismatch Keeping Bears at Bay Seen Lasting - Bloomberg
    Published Sun, Nov 23 2014 11:26 PM by Bloomberg
    The $400 Billion Bond Mismatch Keeping Bears at Bay Seen Lasting Bloomberg Even in the $100 trillion market for bonds worldwide, one of the most persistent dilemmas facing potential buyers is a dearth of supply. Demand for debt securities has surpassed issuance five times in the past seven years, according to data compiled by ... and more »
  • 11:26 PM » Global business confidence plunges to post-crisis low
    Published Sun, Nov 23 2014 11:26 PM by CNBC
    Worldwide business confidence slumped to a five-year low, with company hiring and investment intentions at or near their weakest levels in the post-global financial crisis era, according to a new survey.
  • 11:13 PM » 2015 Housing Forecasts
    Published Sun, Nov 23 2014 11:13 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Update: I've added the MBA  and Goldman Sachs forecasts.  Also Wells Fargo updated their forecast (slight changes). Towards the end of each year I collect some housing forecasts for the following year, and it looks like most analysts are optimistic for 2015. Here is a summary of forecasts for 2014 . In 2014, new home sales will be around 440 thousand, and total housing starts will be close to 1 million.  No one was close on New Home sales (all way too optimistic), and Michelle Meyer (Merrill Lynch) and Fannie Mae were the closest on housing starts (about 10% too high). In 2014, many analysts underestimated the impact of higher mortgage rates and higher new home prices on new home sales and starts. Note: Here is a summary of forecasts for 2013 . In 2013, new home sales were 429 thousand, and total housing starts were 925 thousand.  Barclays were the closest on New Home sales followed by David Crowe (NAHB).  Fannie Mae and the NAHB were the closest on housing starts. The table below shows several forecasts for 2015. From Fannie Mae: Housing Forecast: October 2014 From NAHB: Single-Family Production Poised to Take Off in 2015 I don't have Moody's Analytics' forecast, but Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics said today "that single-family starts could be closing in on 1 million units by the end of 2015 and multifamily production could go as high as 500,000 units."  That seems too high. I haven't worked up a forecast yet for 2015. Housing Forecasts for 2015 New Home Sales (000s) Single Family Starts (000s) Total Starts (000s) House Prices 1 Fannie Mae 523 783 1,170 4.9% 2 Goldman Sachs 521 1,166 3.1% Merrill Lynch 557 1,200 3.6% MBA 503 728 1,108 3.0% 2 NAHB 547 802 1,158 NAR 620 1,300 4% 3 Wells Fargo 530 770 1,160 3.3% Zillow   2.4% 4 1 Case-Shiller unless indicated otherwise 2 FHFA Purchase-Only Index 3 NAR Median Home price 4 Zillow Home...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • Fri, Nov 21 2014
  • 5:37 PM » CFPB Director Cordray Issues Warning to Bankers
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 5:37 PM by
    Jeremy T. Rosenblum Director Cordray’s remarks to the Clearing House yesterday should unsettle bankers and payday lenders alike. In his talk, Director Cordray challenged bankers to bow to the inevitable. He suggested that sooner, rather than later, the industry should invest the billions of dollars required to build a payment system with “faster and even real-time payments” where... More >
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 3:42 PM » Florida brokers prepare for rich, cold snowbirds
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 3:42 PM by CNBC
    Florida real estate brokers are looking for sales to heat up as the Northeast and Midwest shiver through the cold.
  • 3:42 PM » Fed's Bullard Says Markets Misread Him In October Bond-Buying Dustup
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 3:42 PM by WSJ
    The last month has been challenging time for St. Louis Fed President James Bullard.
  • 1:40 PM » Is immigration reform the housing market's big hope?
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 1:40 PM by Washington Post
    About a year ago, President Obama showed up at a Phoenix high school to promote changes to immigration law, just as he's doing Friday at a high school in Las Vegas, where he's rallying support for his decision to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. Read full article >>
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 1:40 PM » Economy, eager buyers drive high-end home sales
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 1:40 PM by CNBC
    Top home tier listings rose in more than 82 percent of the markets reviewed by Zillow compared to a year ago. And people are buying.
  • 11:55 AM » Joblessness Fell in Most States in October. How Does Yours Compare?
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 11:55 AM by WSJ
    The lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. remained concentrated in the Midwest last month, though broad improvement across the country signals a steadily improving economy.
  • 11:55 AM » CFPB gives guidance and answers FAQ on the new Closing Disclosure
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 11:55 AM by
    Marc Patterson On November 18, 2014, the CFPB staff and Federal Reserve Board co-hosted a webinar that addressed questions about the Final TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule that will be effective for applications received by creditors or mortgage brokers on or after August 1, 2015. The webinar focused on the Closing Disclosure and addressed specific questions regarding the... More >
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:21 AM » Proposed changes to our Mortgage Servicing Rules: New protections for surviving family members and other homeowners
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 11:21 AM by CFPB
    Today, we're proposing changes to our Mortgage Servicing Rules, which took effect on January 10, 2014. These rules provide important protections for consumers with mortgages, including: Requiring mortgage servicers (people who manage your mortgage loan account) to provide you with periodic mortgage statements or coupon books that give you important information about your mortgage. Requiring […]
  • 10:31 AM » Commercial Real Estate Is Now a Market of the Haves and Have Nots
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 10:31 AM by WSJ
    The rebounding real estate market isn't treating all commercial property owners equally.
  • 9:00 AM » Black Knight: Mortgage Delinquencies decreased in October, Lowest in Seven Years
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 9:00 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    According to Black Knight's First Look report for October, the percent of loans delinquent decreased in October compared to September, and declined by 12% year-over-year.  Mortgage delinquencies are at the lowest level since November 2007. Also the percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined further in October and were down 33% over the last year.  Foreclosure inventory was at the lowest level since February 2008. Black Knight reported the U.S. mortgage delinquency rate (loans 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure) was 5.44% in October, down from 5.67% in September. The normal rate for delinquencies is around 4.5% to 5%. The percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined to 1.69% in October from 1.76% in September. The number of delinquent properties, but not in foreclosure, is down 393,000 properties year-over-year, and the number of properties in the foreclosure process is down 418,000 properties year-over-year. Black Knight will release the complete mortgage monitor for October in early December. Black Knight: Percent Loans Delinquent and in Foreclosure Process   Oct 2014 Sept 2014 Oct 2013 Oct 2012 Delinquent 5.44% 5.67% 6.28% 7.40% In Foreclosure 1.69% 1.76% 2.54% 3.87% Number of properties: Number of properties that are 30 or more, and less than 90 days past due, but not in foreclosure: 1,658,000 1,760,000 1,869,000 1,957,000 Number of properties that are 90 or more days delinquent, but not in foreclosure: 1,101,000 1,118,000 1,283,000 1,543,000 Number of properties in foreclosure pre-sale inventory: 858,000 893,000 1,276,000 1,800,000 Total Properties 3,617,000 3,771,000 4,427,000 5,300,000
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:00 AM » A Jumbo Challenge for Retirees
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 9:00 AM by WSJ
    Because of income requirements, retirees may have trouble qualifying for a jumbo mortgage. Advance planning can avert these issues.
  • 12:15 AM » Quarterly Housing Starts by Intent
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 12:15 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    In addition to housing starts for October, the Census Bureau also released the Q3 " Started and Completed by Purpose of Construction " report yesterday. It is important to remember that we can't directly compare single family housing starts to new home sales. For starts of single family structures, the Census Bureau includes owner built units and units built for rent that are not included in the new home sales report. For an explanation, see from the Census Bureau: Comparing New Home Sales and New Residential Construction We are often asked why the numbers of new single-family housing units started and completed each month are larger than the number of new homes sold. This is because all new single-family houses are measured as part of the New Residential Construction series (starts and completions), but only those that are built for sale are included in the New Residential Sales series. However it is possible to compare "Single Family Starts, Built for Sale" to New Home sales on a quarterly basis. The quarterly report released yesterday showed there were 125,000 single family starts, built for sale, in Q3 2014, and that was above the 111,000 new homes sold for the same quarter, so inventory increased in Q3 (Using Not Seasonally Adjusted data for both starts and sales). The first graph shows quarterly single family starts, built for sale and new home sales (NSA). Click on graph for larger image. In 2005, and most of 2006, starts were higher than sales, and inventories of new homes increased. The difference on this graph is pretty small, but the builders were starting about 30,000 more homes per quarter than they were selling (speculative building), and the inventory of new homes soared to record levels. Inventory of under construction and completed new home sales peaked at 477,000 in Q3 2006. In 2008 and 2009, the home builders started far fewer homes than they sold as they worked off the excess inventory that they had built up in 2005 and 2006...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 12:14 AM » Fed's Bullard: Fed Has Boxed Itself In When It Comes to June Rate Hike
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 12:14 AM by WSJ
    ST. LOUIS--Broad expectations the Federal Reserve will start raising short-term interest rates next summer are being driven not so much by economic considerations as they are by quirks in how the U.S. central bank conducts its policy meetings, and that's a bad thing, a top Fed official said Thursday. In an interview that expressed continued confidence the Fed can raise short-term rates off currently near-zero rates next spring, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said markets are in large part betting on a June 2015 rate increase because that's one of the four meetings scheduled to be followed by a press conference by Chairwoman Janet Yellen. "The probabilities about when the Fed would move off the zero bound are all piling up on this June meeting" because the U.S. central bank has led observers to believe major policy actions can only happen at meetings with a press conference to explain what just happened, Mr. Bullard said. The Fed's talk about "being data dependent isn't as credible as it should be" given this situation, he said.
  • 12:13 AM » Treasuries Are Biggest-Losing Bonds in Past Month on Fed Outlook - Bloomberg
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 12:13 AM by Bloomberg
    Treasuries Are Biggest-Losing Bonds in Past Month on Fed Outlook Bloomberg Treasuries are the worst-performing developed-market bonds for the past month. They're delivering gains to international investors thanks to a dollar rally. U.S. yields have increased in line with predictions that the Fed will raise interest rates next year.
  • 12:11 AM » Friday: State Employment, October Mortgage Delinquencies
    Published Fri, Nov 21 2014 12:11 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    A few excerpts from a research piece on wages by economist Nathan Harris at Merrill Lynch: After the deep freeze last winter, the labor market has steadily recovered over the last 10 months. Payrolls have averaged about 240,000 and the unemployment rate has dropped mainly for "good reasons"-because of solid jobs rather than falling participation. While it is very hard to pin down the inflation neutral (NAIRU) unemployment rate in real time, we seem to be in the neighborhood of NAIRU. At 5.8%, the official U-3 measure has dipped below its 30-year average of 6.1% and is approaching estimates of NAIRU from the FOMC (5.2 to 5.5%) and the Congressional Budget Office (5.5%). We like to focus on the broader U-6 measure. If the rate of decline over the last year continues, it will hit its historical average by next year and its pre-crisis average by early 2016. What is missing from this labor lullaby is some sign of normal wage growth. There have been a number of head fakes-jumps in erratic second-tier indicators and pockets of pressure that never expanded. However, the two best gauges of pressure, total average hourly earnings (AHE) and the employment cost index (ECI) have shown few signs of life. The good news is that while AHE are still stuck at 2%, there are now early hints of a pick-up in the ECI. After a very weak 1Q reading the index was solid in both 2Q and 3Q. Moreover, the pick-up is broad-based, including both wages and benefits and increases for most occupational groups and industries. Finally, just maybe, labor compensation is starting to pick up. Before we get too excited about improved income or inflation, keep in mind that the recovery in both wage and price inflation is likely to be very slow. ... At this stage, it is not clear whether the long-awaited rise in labor costs has arrived or will start sometime next year. Two things are clear. First, the rise is likely to be very slow. Second, the Fed's initial response will be to breathe a sigh of...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • Thu, Nov 20 2014
  • 4:55 PM » Fed launches review of major banks
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 4:55 PM by CNBC
    The Fed has launched a review of how it oversees major banks after a series of critical reports.
  • 4:55 PM » Brooklyn housing market commands hefty prices
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 4:55 PM by CNBC
    Brooklyn has been hot for decades, but now its housing is pricier than ever-so much so that it is no longer considered NYC's second-choice borough.
  • 4:34 PM » New foreclosure protections could be on the way
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 4:34 PM by Market Watch
    the CFPB wants to expand protections for homeowners threatened by foreclosure.
  • 4:34 PM » Capitol Report: Fannie cuts mortgage-rate outlook, but home buyers may not bite
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 4:34 PM by Market Watch
    Mortgage-finance giant Fannie Mae cut its outlook Thursday for home-loan rates in 2015, but cheap monthly payments may do little to bump up residential sales.
  • 3:11 PM » Alibaba replaces American bond sellers
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 3:11 PM by CNBC
    Alibaba could be the first of many Chinese companies to replace American firms in the U.S. bond market.
  • 2:14 PM » Fannie-Freddie Clarify Buyback Rules in Effort to Spur Lending - Bloomberg
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 2:14 PM by Bloomberg
    Fannie-Freddie Clarify Buyback Rules in Effort to Spur Lending Bloomberg As part of a broader U.S. effort to persuade banks to make more home loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (FMCC) have released rules clarifying the types of practices that would trigger penalties for lenders. The changes announced today by the ... and more »
  • 2:13 PM » A Few Comments on October Existing Home Sales
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 2:13 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    • Once again housing economist Tom Lawler's forecast of 5.31 million SAAR was closer than the consensus (5.15 million) to the NAR reported sales (5.26 million). • The most important number in the NAR report each month is inventory.   This morning the NAR reported that inventory was up 5.2% year-over-year in October.   It is important to note that the NAR inventory data is "noisy" and difficult to forecast based on other data.  However this increase in inventory has slowed price increases. The headline NAR inventory number is not seasonally adjusted, even though there is a clear seasonal pattern. Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko has sent me the seasonally adjusted inventory. NOTE: The NAR does provide a seasonally adjusted months-of-supply, although that is in the supplemental data. Click on graph for larger image. This shows that inventory bottomed in January 2013 (on a seasonally adjusted basis), and inventory is now up about 11.7% from the bottom. On a seasonally adjusted basis, inventory was up 0.1% in October compared to September. Important: The NAR reports active listings, and although there is some variability across the country in what is considered active, many "contingent short sales" are not included. "Contingent short sales" are strange listings since the listings were frequently NEVER on the market (they were listed as contingent), and they hang around for a long time - they are probably more closely related to shadow inventory than active inventory. However when we compare inventory to 2005, we need to remember there were no "short sale contingent" listings in 2005. In the areas I track, the number of "short sale contingent" listings is also down sharply year-over-year. And another key point: The NAR reported total sales were up 2.5% from October 2013, however normal equity sales were even more, and distressed sales down sharply.  From the...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 12:22 PM » Bond market volatility: There's a VIX for that
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 12:22 PM by CNBC
    As the Federal Reserve gets set to chart a future course off zero interest rates, investors now have a chance to play along.
  • 11:57 AM » Bond market ignores improving data
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 11:57 AM by CNBC
    Despite strong data on housing and from the Philadelphia Fed, the bond market was largely nonchalant. Blame Alibaba.
  • 11:57 AM » $1 million-plus home sales up 16%
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 11:57 AM by CNBC
    Million-dollar homes outshone every other price category in October as wealthy buyers are feeling increasingly confident.
  • 10:58 AM » Wells Fargo and Discover to offer student loan modifications
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 10:58 AM by Washington Post
    If you're having a hard time paying off your private students loans, you could catch a break soon as two of the biggest private lenders are gearing up to relax repayment terms. On Wednesday, Wells Fargo said it would lower interest rates for eligible borrowers starting this month and extend repayment periods starting in February. The bank, which has $11.9 billion worth of private student loans, anticipates the move will save borrowers thousands of dollars in interest payments over the course of the loan. Read full article >>
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 10:58 AM » Rental Apartment Construction Is At a 27-Year High
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 10:58 AM by WSJ
    New figures offer the latest reminder of an apartment boom.
  • 10:58 AM » Will 2015 be the Turnaround Year for First-Time Home Buyers?
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 10:58 AM by WSJ
    NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said 2015 could mark a turnaround.
  • 10:58 AM » U.S. existing home sales hit one-year high in October
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 10:58 AM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. home resales jumped to their highest level in more than a year in October and outpaced the sales level a year ago for the first time in 2014, further evidence the housing market is on a recovery path.
  • 10:58 AM » After Recession, Home-Remodeling Is Back On the Rise
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 10:58 AM by WSJ
    Wednesday's report on housing starts suggested a steady trend for construction. But new houses aren't the only support to economic growth. Updating a bathroom or adding a deck also contributes.
  • 10:57 AM » Fixed Mortgage Rates Dip Just Below Four Percent
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 10:57 AM by
    Fixed Mortgage Rates Dip Just Below Four Percent
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:08 AM » Fed Staff Whispering Caution in Officials' Ears
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 9:08 AM by WSJ
    The Wall Street Journal's Daily Report on Global Central Banks for Thursday, November 20, 2014. Jon Hilsenrath examines the views of staff economists at the Fed, and finds them in no hurry to be advising policy makers to start a cycle of interest rate increases.
  • 9:06 AM » Bond Record in Sight as Sales Near $4 Trillion: Credit Markets - Bloomberg
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 9:06 AM by Bloomberg
    Bloomberg Bond Record in Sight as Sales Near $4 Trillion: Credit Markets Bloomberg Global corporate bond issuance has surpassed all of 2013, with the annual record now in sight as investors reap the biggest gains since 2002. Led by Apple Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., companies have fueled debt sales worldwide of $3.8 trillion ...
  • 8:41 AM » US jobless claims lowest since 2000; CPI stalls
    Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 8:41 AM by CNBC
    Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell more than expected, while a reading on consumer prices came in unexpectedly flat.
  • Wed, Nov 19 2014
  • 11:12 PM » Consumer inflation could be wild card
    Published Wed, Nov 19 2014 11:12 PM by CNBC
    Markets will hone in on consumer inflation Thursday, a report that will likely show a decline in part because of falling gasoline prices.
  • 9:58 PM » Principal reduction for underwater homeowners not off table, official testifies
    Published Wed, Nov 19 2014 9:58 PM by Washington Post
    One of the mortgage industry's most influential regulators told a Senate panel Wednesday that a controversial form of debt relief for borrowers who have no equity left in their homes is "not off the table." Read full article >>
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
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Mortgage Rates:
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Recent Housing Data:
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