Real Estate

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DC’s Fiscal Lunacy, Fed’s Unwind Creating Waves For Housing Market

The fiscal lunacy in Washington and the Federal Reserve's balance sheet unwind are creating waves for the housing market. 2018 was starting off on the right foot with a noticeable, yet moderate rise in bond yields. As we received more concrete evidence that the Federal Reserve was actually unwinding some of that gigantic balance sheet, volatility erupted pretty quickly. After a 12oo point plunge in the Dow, some savvy mortgage borrowers probably took advantage of the temporary fear in the market to score a decent mortgage rate. It was a small window of opportunity, because [...]

Quicken Loans Overtakes Wells Fargo As Largest Mortgage Lender

Quicken Loans overtook Wells Fargo as the largest mortgage lender in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2017. Quicken Loans, with their Rocket Mortgage platform, reportedly originated $25 billion in home loans in the last three months of 2017. Wells Fargo was second with $23 billion, followed by Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase at $13 billion and $11 billion respectively. In case you missed it, here's the Rocket Mortgage ad aired during the Super Bowl... 2018 was poised to be a decent year for mortgage lenders, but likely not for Wells Fargo. Serial [...]

Fed Unwinds $21 Billion, Markets Puke On Higher Yields

The Federal Reserve System Open Market Account Holdings (SOMA) report for January 31st finally revealed the balance sheet unwind in action. Since the Fed announced their balance sheet unwind last year, the actual process had been proceeding at a snails pace, particularly with the mortgage-backed securities portfolio. The MBS instruments can take 2-3 months to roll off, so the MBS unwind has been virtually invisible until this week. With a $21 billion drawdown in the latest week, including over $10 billion in agency MBS unwind, it becomes increasingly clear why the markets were puking all [...]

New Home Sales Get Reality Check In December As Median Prices Hit Record High

Following yesterday's relatively weak existing home sales numbers from NAR, December new home sales posted at at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000. That was a 9 percent drop from the euphoric November new home sales numbers, which were revised sharply lower along with October numbers. The median price of a new home in the U.S. hit a new high of $335,400 while the average price rose to $398,900. Existing home sales continue to suffer from an acute shortage of inventory and inflated prices. New home sales, while still growing, are even more expensive compared [...]

Dallas TX Employment Growth Sputters In December But Finishes Year Higher

Dallas TX employment growth sputtered in December with the non-adjusted numbers from the Texas Workforce Commission showing a gain of 2000 jobs for DFW in December. That's a far cry from the strong numbers seen in November, but the yearly gains were still respectable. Over the 12 month period the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA added 91,700 jobs. Dallas Fort Worth is still running hotter than the Houston region, with CPI numbers that are almost twice as strong (3.2% vs 1.7%). The official (massaged) unemployment rate in Dallas stood at 3.6% in December. Houston posted an unemployment [...]

Balance Sheet Unwind Hits Reverse As Interest Paid To Banks Soars

True to form, the Federal Reserve is taking a rather cautious approach to their balance sheet unwind with this week's System Open Market Account (SOMA) report showing an INCREASE of a $million in the Fed's bloated account holdings. So much for unwinding!  If you were wondering how equity markets could be marching to new highs every week in the face of tepid organic economic growth, you have your answer. Today's inflation numbers show that the Federal Reserve still can't seem to generate any inflation in the economy, with core inflation rising only 1.8% year-over-year. Home [...]

Another Fed “Senior Economist” Demonstrates Willful Ignorance

The Federal Reserve and its army of economists continue to demonstrate willful ignorance of their failed policies. This week it was the Kansas City Fed's Jordan Rappaport who penned another dose of misdirection on the housing market. Rappaport's piece, "Pent-Up Demand and Continuing Price Increases: The Outlook for Housing in 2018" is yet another example of how the Federal Reserve touts itself as a champion of real economy while they continue toe the line for Wall Street and wealthy investors. In the usual captured culture of Fed Mr. Rappaport lays out the theme of continued [...]

Denton County Home Rental Prices Stagnate

Single-family rental prices in Denton County were basically flat during December. As home prices have continued to creep higher in the area, average rents for single-family homes in Denton County are not as strong. Prospective renters are likely getting stretched with home price inflation exceeding average wage growth. This would help to explain why the average price of home rented in Denton County in December 2017 dropped about 2 percent compared to December 2016. The average price per square foot for a rental in Denton County did rise slightly, but the average size of homes [...]

December Jobs Growth Misses, Wage Growth Still Weak

Yesterday I was musing about the expected rise in inflation and bond yields that so many professional pundits and talking heads are expecting in 2018. That's the story being bantered about on various mainstream cable news puppet shows. Today we received another reality check on that "pent up demand" and overheating labor market story as the December Jobs Report painted a rather lackluster finish to 2017. The BLS Employment Situation showed an increase of 148,000 jobs in December. That's the good news from the establishment survey. The Household survey (Table A) showed an increase of [...]

Misguided Expectations For Inflation And Bond Yields In 2018

The Federal Reserve has proven they are devoid of credibility when it comes to their advertised mandates of full employment and price stability. What the Fed is good at is the same thing it has always been good at...blowing bubbles and serving the interests of Wall Street banks. Thus it should come as no surprise that many of the clueless PhD economists working for the Federal Reserve are calling for an uptick in inflation in 2018. You know, because the labor market is so "tight" and current inflation is still tepid. The Fed of course [...]