Friday, October 31, 2014

Final October Consumer Sentiment at 86.9, Chicago PMI increases to 66.2

by Bill McBride on 10/31/2014 09:03:00 AM

Consumer Sentiment
Click on graph for larger image.

The final Reuters / University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for October was at 86.9, up from the preliminary reading of 86.4, and up from 84.6 in September.

This was slightly above the consensus forecast of 86.4. Sentiment has generally been improving following the recession - with plenty of ups and downs - and a big spike down when Congress threatened to "not pay the bills" in 2011.

This was the highest level since 2007.

Chicago PMI October 2014: Chicago Business Barometer Up 5.7 Points to 66.2 in October, New Orders Rise Sharply to the Highest Since October 2013

The Chicago Business Barometer rose 5.7 points to a one year high of 66.2 in October, fuelled by a double digit gain in New Orders. ...

New Orders was the strongest component of the Barometer and increased sharply to 73.6, the highest level since October 2013. ... Employment increased to the highest level since November 2013, a potential sign that the recovery is becoming more entrenched.
emphasis added
This was well above the consensus forecast of 60.0.

BEA: Personal Income increased 0.2% in September, Core PCE prices up 1.5% year-over-year

by Bill McBride on 10/31/2014 08:36:00 AM

The BEA released the Personal Income and Outlays report for September:

Personal income increased $22.7 billion, or 0.2 percent ... in September, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $19.0 billion, or 0.2 percent.
Real PCE -- PCE adjusted to remove price changes -- decreased 0.2 percent in September, in contrast to an increase of 0.5 percent in August. ... The price index for PCE increased 0.1 percent in September, in contrast to a decrease of 0.1 percent in August. The PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.1 percent in September, the same increase as in August.
Personal saving -- DPI less personal outlays -- was $732.2 billion in September, compared with $702.0 billion in August. The personal saving rate -- personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income -- was 5.6 percent in September, compared with 5.4 percent in August.
A key point is that the PCE price index was only up 1.4% year-over-year (1.5% for core PCE). This is still below the Fed's target.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Friday: Personal Income and Outlays, Chicago PMI, Consumer Sentiment

by Bill McBride on 10/30/2014 06:52:00 PM

From Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Rebound, Remain Below Four Percent

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher across the board this week and rebounding from the lowest rates of the year.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.98 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending October 30, 2014, up from last week when it averaged 3.92 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.10 percent.
Mortgage News Daily shows rates today were at 4.01%.

• At 8:30 AM ET, Personal Income and Outlays for September. The consensus is for a 0.3% increase in personal income, and for a 0.1% increase in personal spending. And for the Core PCE price index to increase 0.1%.

• At 9:45 AM, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for October. The consensus is for a reading of 60.0, down from 60.5 in September.

• At 9:55 AM, the Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index (final for October). The consensus is for a reading of 86.4, unchanged from the preliminary reading of 86.4, and up from the September reading of 84.6.

Hotels: Occupancy up 5.4%, RevPAR up 10.8% Year-over-Year

by Bill McBride on 10/30/2014 02:54:00 PM

From STR: US results for week ending 25 October

The U.S. hotel industry recorded positive results in the three key performance measurements during the week of 19-25 October 2014, according to data from STR, Inc.

In year-over-year measurements, the industry’s occupancy rose 5.4 percent to 69.4 percent. Average daily rate increased 5.1 percent to finish the week at US$119.52. Revenue per available room for the week was up 10.8 percent to finish at US$82.89
emphasis added
Note: ADR: Average Daily Rate, RevPAR: Revenue per Available Room.

The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.

Business travel has probably peaked for the Fall season, and now hotels are heading into the slow period.

Hotel Occupancy Rate Click on graph for larger image.

The red line is for 2014, blue is the median, and black is for 2009 - the worst year since the Great Depression for hotels.  Purple is for 2000.

The 4-week average of the occupancy rate is solidly above the median for 2000-2007, and is a little above the level for the same week in 2000 (the previous high). 

Right now it looks like 2014 will be the best year since 2000 for hotels.

And since it takes some time to plan and build hotels, I expect 2015 will be a record year for hotel occupancy.

Data Source: Smith Travel Research, Courtesy of

Lawler: MDC Results and Homebuilder Summary Table

by Bill McBride on 10/30/2014 11:36:00 AM

From housing economist Tom Lawler: M.D.C. Holdings: Net Orders Up, Orders per Community Down; Margins Fall on Higher Incentives

M.D.C. Holdings reported that net home orders in the quarter ended September 30, 2014 totaled 1,081, up 17.0% from the comparable quarter of 2013. Net orders per active community were down 2.3% from a year ago. Home deliveries totaled 1,093 last quarter, down 13.0% from the comparable quarter of 2013, at an average sales price of $370,600, up 7.4% from a year ago. The company’s order backlog at the end of September was 1,874, up 6.4% from last September, at an average order price of $422,700, up 10.0% from a year ago.

Here are some excerpts from the company’s press release.

‘Larry A. Mizel, MDC's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Against the backdrop of an uneven recovery for housing and overall economic conditions, we are pleased that we have consistently produced profitable results since the beginning of 2012. However, the volatility of the housing market recovery was evident in our third quarter results, as elevated land and construction costs, combined with our use of additional incentives to stimulate demand for new homes, have pressured our homebuilding gross margins."

‘Mr. Mizel continued, "While we believe that the housing recovery remains on solid footing, it is evident that certain obstacles, such as Qualified Mortgage Standards and reduced Federal Housing Authority loan limits, have taken their toll on housing demand, especially for the first time buyer segment. Additionally, on the production side of our business, we have seen a negative impact from tighter subcontractor availability and adverse weather conditions in certain markets, as well as an elongated mortgage approval process. We believe the impact of many of these factors will diminish over time, allowing us to return to more robust levels of demand as overall economic conditions continue to improve."’
M.D.C.’s results were below “consensus.”

Here are some summary results for large publicly-traded builders who have reported results for last quarter. For these six builders combined, net orders per active community last quarter were up 1.8% YOY. Excluding the impact of acquisitions of other builders, net orders last quarter were up about 8.3% YOY.

  Net OrdersSettlementsAverage Closing Price
Qtr. Ended:9/30/149/30/13% Chg9/30/149/30/13% Chg9/30/149/30/13% Chg
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