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Contracts For North Texas Home Purchases Still Shrinking

I have been monitoring the contracts for home purchases in the North Texas area since last week, and the numbers are not encouraging. The number of active option contract properties (listings where the home has gone under contract with a buyer option to back out) continues to shrink. This is not surprising considering the economic backdrop, but it also points to a more prolonged downturn than many in the real estate industry were expecting. Pending sales data for March will not be pretty, but the April data for North Texas home sales could be an [...]

Stagnating Home Sales, Mortgage Rates & Job Growth But The Fed Only Has Eyes For Wall Street

Home sales are stagnating, mortgage rates are falling and job growth is now waning. What's not to love? Today's nonfarm payrolls report was a resounding thud with only 75,000 jobs added in May. Previous months were revised downward as well. Everywhere you look, cracks are beginning to appear in the carefully varnished edifice the Federal Reserve likes to call an economy. Maybe this is why there were 13 Federal Reserve officials hitting the airwaves this week to talk up their most favored metric of economic validation, the U.S. stock market. Earlier in the week we [...]

Denton County Employment Growth Still Solid, Why Are Home Sales Stagnating?

Denton County employment growth is still humming along. The Dallas-Fort Worth area continues to add jobs. Even with the job growth, home price gains in the DFW area continue to slow. This is confirmed in the recent numbers from Case-Shiller. Along with many professional PhD economists, the Case-Shiller committee seems to be puzzled that the housing market isn't firing on all cylinders given the recent plunge in mortgage interest rates. "Given the broader economic picture, housing should be doing better." Even Freddie Mac's deputy chief economist seems to be perplexed that the housing market isn't [...]

New Home Sales Jump 7 Percent In April But Momentum Is Fading

The Census Bureau reported new home sales in April which rose 7 percent compared to the same time a year ago. Sales (contract signings) for April posted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 673,000 units. This was close to expectations, but interestingly the April figure represented a rather large 7 percent drop from revised March numbers. The sales numbers for the previous three months were revised higher. The median price of a new home rose in April to $342,200, while the average price of a new home contracted in April rose to $393700. This [...]

Texas Realtors Pay Over $6 Million For Bogus Research At A&M RECenter

"The first rule of fight club is: You do not talk about fight club." Texas Realtors continue to throw money at bogus research at the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. Many Texas Realtors probably don't even know that a portion of their annual licensing dues goes to pay the salaries of the staff at the RECenter. Many are probably unaware of how they are being shortchanged by this Texas institution which is still partnering with the Federal Reserve when it comes to economic research. That is a shame, because the garbage being produced by the [...]

DFW Contract Activity Cools In April As Stimulus From Lower Rates Fades

DFW contract activity faded in April. Looking at the preliminary sales data for North Texas, it is apparent that the stimulus from the big drop in mortgage rates has run its course. It will be another week or so before we get the official press release numbers, but the data is telling. April was another good month for home sales. Actual closings for home sales showed a robust real estate market in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but contract signings were another matter. Preliminary sales data indicate that the DFW real estate market is peaking prematurely [...]

Denton County New Home Sales Spring To Life In March

Denton County new home sales are enjoying a spring revival courtesy of lower mortgage interest rates. Preliminary March data for North Texas shows that home sales rebounded in March, with new home sales driving the action. Buyers were obviously lured off the fence in the DFW area when it came to buying new homes. It also helped that new home builders were keeping price points lower. The average price of new homes in Dallas-Fort Worth still shows to be softening. Pending sales data for March looks a bit weaker than closings, so it will be [...]

Caveman Powell Looking To Levitate Stock, Housing Bubbles

Yesterday the Federal Reserve yelped like a whipped puppy as Jerome Powell turned into the latest iteration of his market-dependent Bernanke/Yellen/Greenspan predecessors. If you remember, Mr. Powell was here in the DFW area back in November playing up the fabulous state of the U.S economy and the Fed's wonderful policies. At the time expectations were that the Fed would be raising the Federal Funds rate four more times this year with a balance sheet reduction schedule that was supposedly on "autopilot" to the tune of $50 billion per month rolling off. Flash forward one quarter [...]

October New Home Sales Collapse, Near Three-Year Low

The Census Bureau numbers for October new home sales posted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 544,000 units. This was way below expectations of a 575,000 print, and near a three-year low. As I have been detailing for much of the year, much of that "pent-up demand" that you hear real estate industry mouthpieces talking about is a giant work of fiction, a tired marketing ploy that the media, economists and Realtors have been using in attempt to justify grossly inflated home prices across the U.S. Well, it appears the cat is officially [...]

Jerome Powell Visits Dallas Fed – Global Perspectives In Oblivion

Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, visited the Dallas Federal Reserve yesterday to cap the Dallas bank's Global Perspectives series. Aside from pontificating about global economic perspectives, the meeting between Robert Kaplan and Jerome Powell was insightful for many reasons. Kaplan reminded the audience of Powell's policy experience which includes time as partner at private equity firm the Carlyle Group. Listening to a Goldman Sachs alum toss softball questions to a Carlyle alum is one way, I suppose, to placate a concerned public that the economy is still healthy and the Fed is on the ball, [...]