Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vehicle Sales Forecast: Sales close to 17 Million SAAR in April

by Bill McBride on 4/23/2017 01:01:00 PM

The automakers will report April vehicle sales on Tuesday, May 2nd.

Note: There were 26 selling days in April 2017, down from 27 in April 2016.

From WardsAuto: U.S. Forecast: Mild Sales, Growing Inventory

The report puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for the month at 17.1 million units, well above last month’s 16.5 million, but below year-ago’s 17.3 million.

The monthly volume will be 3.1% below last year. Beyond one fewer selling day, Easter occurred in April this year, unlike 2016, possibly delaying sales for some shoppers in the second half of the month. ...

Sluggish sales in March left inventory levels high, with LV stock of 4.15 million units at month-end.  The forecasted April inventory level sits at 4.16 million units, resulting in a fourth straight month above the 4 million mark. The only time this previously happened was in 2004, when five consecutive months surpassed that level. emphasis added
Looks like a decent month for vehicle sales, but overall sales are mostly moving sideways.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Schedule for Week of Apr 23, 2017

by Bill McBride on 4/22/2017 08:11:00 AM

The key economic reports this week are Q1 GDP and March New Home sales.

----- Monday, Apr 24th -----

8:30 AM: Chicago Fed National Activity Index for March. This is a composite index of other data.

10:30 AM: Dallas Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for April.

----- Tuesday, Apr 25th-----

9:00 AM: FHFA House Price Index for February 2017. This was originally a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index.

Case-Shiller House Prices Indices 9:00 AM ET: S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for February. Although this is the February report, it is really a 3 month average of December, January and February prices.

This graph shows the nominal seasonally adjusted National Index, Composite 10 and Composite 20 indexes through the January 2017 report (the Composite 20 was started in January 2000).

The consensus is for a 5.8% year-over-year increase in the Comp 20 index for February.

New Home Sales10:00 AM ET: New Home Sales for March from the Census Bureau.

This graph shows New Home Sales since 1963. The dashed line is the February sales rate.

The consensus is for a decrease in sales to 584 thousand Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in March from 592 thousand in February.

10:00 AM: Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for April.

----- Wednesday, Apr 26th -----

7:00 AM ET: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

----- Thursday, Apr 26th -----

8:30 AM ET: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released. The consensus is for 243 thousand initial claims, down from 244 thousand the previous week.

8:30 AM: Durable Goods Orders for February from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for a 1.1% increase in durable goods orders.

10:00 AM: Pending Home Sales Index for March. The consensus is for a 0.4% decrease in the index.

10:00 AM: the Q1 2017 Housing Vacancies and Homeownership from the Census Bureau.

11:00 AM: the Kansas City Fed manufacturing survey for April. This is the last of the regional Fed surveys for April.

----- Friday, Apr 28th -----

8:30 AM: Gross Domestic Product, 1st quarter 2017 (Advance estimate). The consensus is that real GDP increased 1.1% annualized in Q1.

9:45 AM: Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for April. The consensus is for a reading of 56.5, down from 57.7 in March.

10:00 AM: University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index (final for April). The consensus is for a reading of 98.0, unchanged from the preliminary reading 98.0.

Friday, April 21, 2017

OIl: Decent increase for Oil Rig Count

by Bill McBride on 4/21/2017 05:34:00 PM

A few comments from Steven Kopits of Princeton Energy Advisors LLC on Apr 21, 2017:

• Total US oil rigs were up 5 to 688

• US horizontal oil rigs added 9 to 581
...
• The US horizontal oil rig count is now within two weeks of the entire number necessary to cover the US contribution to incremental global oil supply.

• The market has clearly become jittery, and OPEC promises to extend production cuts are no longer comforting worried investors
Oil Rig CountClick on graph for larger image.

CR note: This graph shows the evolution of the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) production forecasts by month. The production outlook keeps increasing.

Graph and comments Courtesy of Steven Kopits of Princeton Energy Advisors LLC.

BLS: March Unemployment Rates in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine and Oregon at New Series Lows

by Bill McBride on 4/21/2017 03:05:00 PM

From the BLS: Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary

Unemployment rates were lower in March in 17 states and stable in 33 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Eighteen states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, and 32 states and the District had little or no change. The national unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point from February to 4.5 percent and was 0.5 point lower than in March 2016.
...
Colorado had the lowest unemployment rate in March, 2.6 percent, closely followed by Hawaii, 2.7 percent, and New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota, 2.8 percent each. The rates in Arkansas (3.6 percent), Colorado (2.6 percent), Maine (3.0 percent), and Oregon (3.8 percent) set new series lows. (All state series begin in 1976.) New Mexico had the highest jobless rate, 6.7 percent.
emphasis added
State Unemployment Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the current unemployment rate for each state (red), and the max during the recession (blue). All states are well below the maximum unemployment rate for the recession.

The size of the blue bar indicates the amount of improvement.   The yellow squares are the lowest unemployment rate per state since 1976.

The states are ranked by the highest current unemployment rate. New Mexico, at 6.7%, had the highest state unemployment rate.

State UnemploymentThe second graph shows the number of states (and D.C.) with unemployment rates at or above certain levels since January 2006. At the worst of the employment recession, there were 11 states with an unemployment rate at or above 11% (red).

Currently no state has an unemployment rate at or above 7% (light blue); Only two states are at or above 6% (dark blue). The states are New Mexico (6.7%), and Alaska (6.4%).

Note: The series low for Alaska is 6.3% (almost a new low in Alaska too).

A Few Comments on March Existing Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 4/21/2017 12:10:00 PM

Earlier: NAR: "Existing-Home Sales Jumped 4.4% in March"

A few key points:

1) As usual, housing economist Tom Lawler's forecast was closer to the NAR report than the consensus.  See: Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in March

"I project that US existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.74 million in March"
2) Warmer weather in February might have boosted sales for March and early April.

3) Inventory is still very low and falling year-over-year (down 6.6% year-over-year in March). More inventory would probably mean smaller price increases, and less inventory somewhat larger price increases.

I expect inventory will be increasing year-over-year by the end of 2017.

The following graph shows existing home sales Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).

Existing Home Sales NSAClick on graph for larger image.

Sales NSA in March (red column) were the highest for March since 2006 (NSA).

Note that sales NSA are now in the seasonally strong period (March through September).

NAR: "Existing-Home Sales Jumped 4.4% in March"

by Bill McBride on 4/21/2017 10:09:00 AM

From the NAR: Existing-Home Sales Jumped 4.4% in March

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, ascended 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.47 million in February. March's sales pace is 5.9 percent above a year ago and surpasses January as the strongest month of sales since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Total housing inventory at the end of March increased 5.8 percent to 1.83 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.6 percent lower than a year ago (1.96 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 22 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.8-month supply at the current sales pace (unchanged from February).
emphasis added
Existing Home SalesClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows existing home sales, on a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) basis since 1993.

Sales in March (5.71 million SAAR) were 4.4% higher than last month, and were 5.9% above the March 2016 rate.

The second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.

Existing Home Inventory According to the NAR, inventory increased to 1.83 million in March from 1.75 million in February.   Headline inventory is not seasonally adjusted, and inventory usually decreases to the seasonal lows in December and January, and peaks in mid-to-late summer.

The last graph shows the year-over-year (YoY) change in reported existing home inventory and months-of-supply. Since inventory is not seasonally adjusted, it really helps to look at the YoY change. Note: Months-of-supply is based on the seasonally adjusted sales and not seasonally adjusted inventory.

Year-over-year Inventory Inventory decreased 6.6% year-over-year in March compared to March 2016.  

Months of supply was at 3.8 months in March.

This was above consensus expectations. For existing home sales, a key number is inventory - and inventory is still low. I'll have more later ...

Black Knight: Mortgage Delinquencies Declined in March to 11 Year Low

by Bill McBride on 4/21/2017 07:59:00 AM

From Black Knight: Black Knight’s First Look at March Mortgage Data: Delinquency Rate Drops to 11-Year Low; Prepayments Up 20 Percent from February’s Three-Year Low

• Delinquencies declined 14 percent month-over-month, hitting their lowest level since March 2006 and the fourth lowest point since the turn of the century

  • Total non-current inventory – all loans 30 days or more past due or in active foreclosure – fell below 2.3 million, the lowest volume in 11 years

  • After hitting a three-year low in February, prepayment speeds (historically a good indicator of refinance activity) rose 20 percent in March; still 26 percent below last year’s level

  • Foreclosure starts were up 4.15 percent for the month, but Q1 2017’s 189,000 starts represented an 18 percent decline from Q1 2016
According to Black Knight's First Look report for March, the percent of loans delinquent decreased 14.1% in March compared to February, and declined 11.4% year-over-year.

The percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined 4.6% in March and were down 29.2% over the last year.

Black Knight reported the U.S. mortgage delinquency rate (loans 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure) was 3.62% in March, down from 4.21% in February.

The percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined in March to 0.88%.

The number of delinquent properties, but not in foreclosure, is down 231,000 properties year-over-year, and the number of properties in the foreclosure process is down 183,000 properties year-over-year.

Black Knight: Percent Loans Delinquent and in Foreclosure Process
  Mar
2017
Feb
2017
Mar
2016
Mar
2015
Delinquent3.62%4.21%4.08%4.66%
In Foreclosure0.88%0.93%1.25%1.68%
Number of properties:
Number of properties that are delinquent, but not in foreclosure:1,831,0002,135,0002,062,0002,349,000
Number of properties in foreclosure pre-sale inventory:448,000470,000631,000846,000
Total Properties2,279,0002,605,0002,693,0003,195,000

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Friday: Existing Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 4/20/2017 07:58:00 PM

I expect existing home sales to be above the consensus forecast, see: Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in March

Friday:
• At 10:00 AM ET, Existing Home Sales for March from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The consensus is for 5.61 million SAAR, up from 5.48 million in February.

• Also at 10:00 AM, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) for March 2017

Hotels: Hotel Occupancy Rate Decreases Year-over-Year

by Bill McBride on 4/20/2017 03:45:00 PM

From HotelNewsNow.com: STR: US hotel results for week ending 15 April

The U.S. hotel industry reported negative results in the three key performance metrics during the week of 9-15 April 2017, according to data from STR.

Opposite from previous weeks, performance growth was negatively affected by the Easter calendar shift from 27 March 2016 to 16 April 2017. In comparison with the week of 10-16 April 2016, the industry reported the following:

Occupancy: -4.6% to 64.3%
• Average daily rate (ADR): -0.2% to US$123.41
• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): -4.8% to US$79.33
emphasis added
The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.

Hotel Occupancy RateThe red line is for 2017, dashed is 2015, blue is the median, and black is for 2009 - the worst year since the Great Depression for hotels.

2015 was the best year on record for hotels.

For hotels, occupancy will now move mostly sideways until the summer travel season.

Data Source: STR, Courtesy of HotelNewsNow.com

NMHC: Apartment Market Tightness Index remained negative in April Survey

by Bill McBride on 4/20/2017 12:41:00 PM

From the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC): Apartment Markets Sluggish in the April NMHC Quarterly Survey

Despite moderate improvements over the first quarter of 2017, all four indexes of the National Multifamily Housing Council’s (NMHC) Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions remained below the breakeven level of 50. The Market Tightness (41), Sales Volume (30), Equity Financing (42), and Debt Financing (41) all indicated continued softening conditions in apartment markets even as demand for apartment residences remains strong.

“Although all four indexes rose in April, they remain below the breakeven level of 50,” said Mark Obrinsky, NMHC’s Senior Vice President of Research and Chief Economist. “After years of lagging behind the increase in apartment demand, new supply is finally coming online in sufficient quantity to alter this supply-demand imbalance. In particular, class A supply in many urban core submarkets has led to increased concessions to fuel lease-up activity. Even so, occupancy rates remain close to historic highs.

“In the investment market, some of the weakness in property sales is seasonal, but respondents reported caution on the part of buyers as well as debt and equity capital sources – in particular in regard to construction lending. Increased uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates and cap rates also appears to be playing a role.”

The Market Tightness Index increased from 25 to 41, as one-fifth of respondents (20 percent) reported tighter conditions than three months ago, up from eight percent in January. Over one-third (38 percent) noted looser conditions. While this marks the sixth consecutive quarter of overall declining conditions, it does mark an uptick from the previous quarter.
emphasis added
Apartment Tightness Index
Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the quarterly Apartment Tightness Index. Any reading below 50 indicates looser conditions from the previous quarter. This indicates market conditions were looser over the last quarter.

As I've mentioned before, this index helped me call the bottom for effective rents (and the top for the vacancy rate) early in 2010.

This is the sixth consecutive quarterly survey indicating looser conditions - it appears supply has caught up with demand - and I expect rent growth to continue to slow.