Sunday, March 09, 2014

Sunday Night Futures

by Bill McBride on 3/09/2014 08:52:00 PM

A couple of interesting housing articles in the WSJ ...

First, from Nick Timiraos: Surging Home Prices Are a Double-Edged Sword

The U.S. housing market faces a challenge at the start of the spring sales season: higher prices.

It is hard to overstate the benefits of rising prices to the economy broadly and to homeowners, banks and home builders specifically after years of declines. Price gains have pulled more Americans from the brink of foreclosure and given home buyers more confidence that they won't get stuck with an asset whose value will decline.

But those gains have a painful edge, too, especially because prices have bounced back so strongly. The increases have rekindled concerns about affordability, particularly for first-time buyers, and could damp the gains of a housing rebound still in its early stages.

"Prices ran up so fast in 2013, it hurt first-timers' ability to become homeowners," said John Burns, chief executive of a home-building consulting firm in Irvine, Calif. "It's going to be a slower recovery than people had hoped because a number of people have been priced out of the market."
And from Conor Dougherty at the WSJ: New-Home Building Is Shifting to Apartments
The share of new homes being built as rental apartments is at the highest level in at least four decades, as an improving jobs picture spurs younger Americans to form their own households but tighter lending standards make it more difficult to buy.
Schedule for Week of March 9th

Mortgage Equity Withdrawal Still Negative in Q4

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: the S&P futures are down 2 and DOW futures are down 25 (fair value).

Oil prices are down slightly with WTI futures at $102.45 per barrel and Brent at $108.71 per barrel.

Below is a graph from for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are around $3.47 per gallon (up sharply over the last month, but down significantly from the same week a year ago).  If you click on "show crude oil prices", the graph displays oil prices for WTI, not Brent; gasoline prices in most of the U.S. are impacted more by Brent prices.

Orange County Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by