Sunday, November 18, 2018

Existing Home Sales for October: Take the Over

by Bill McBride on 11/18/2018 11:46:00 AM

The NAR is scheduled to release Existing Home Sales for October at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, November 21st.

The consensus is for 5.20 million SAAR, up from 5.15 million in September. Housing economist Tom Lawler estimates the NAR will reports sales of 5.31 million SAAR for October and that inventory will be up 2.8% year-over-year. Based on Lawler's estimate, I expect existing home sales to be above the consensus for October.

Housing economist Tom Lawler has been sending me his predictions of what the NAR will report for 8+ years.  The table below shows the consensus for each month, Lawler's predictions, and the NAR's initially reported level of sales. 

Lawler hasn't always been closer than the consensus, but usually when there has been a fairly large spread between Lawler's estimate and the "consensus", Lawler has been closer.

Last month, in September 2018, the consensus was for sales of 5.30 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis. Lawler estimated the NAR would report 5.20 million, and the NAR reported 5.15 million (as usual Lawler was closer than the consensus).

NOTE: There have been times when Lawler "missed", but then he pointed out an apparent error in the NAR data - and the subsequent revision corrected that error.  As an example, see: The “Curious Case” of Existing Home Sales in the South in April

Over the last eight years, the consensus average miss was 144 thousand, and  Lawler's average miss was 67 thousand.

Existing Home Sales, Forecasts and NAR Report
millions, seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR)
MonthConsensusLawlerNAR reported1
1NAR initially reported before revisions.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Schedule for Week of November 18, 2018

by Bill McBride on 11/17/2018 08:11:00 AM

The key economic reports this week are October Housing Starts and Existing Home Sales.

Happy Thanksgiving!

----- Monday, Nov 19th -----

10:00 AM: The November NAHB homebuilder survey. The consensus is for a reading of  68, unchanged from 68. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

----- Tuesday, Nov 20th -----

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts8:30 AM: Housing Starts for October.

This graph shows single and total housing starts since 1968.

The consensus is for 1.240 million SAAR, up from 1.201 million SAAR.

----- Wednesday, Nov 21st -----

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

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for 213 thousand initial claims, down from 216 thousand the previous week.

8:30 AM: Durable Goods Orders for October from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for a 2.4% decrease in durable goods orders.

Existing Home Sales10:00 AM: Existing Home Sales for October from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The consensus is for 5.20 million SAAR, up from 5.15 million.

The graph shows existing home sales from 1994 through the report last month.

Housing economist Tom Lawler estimates the NAR will reports sales of 5.31 million SAAR for October and that inventory will be up 2.8% year-over-year.

10:00 AM: University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index (Final for November). The consensus is for a reading of 98.3.

----- Thursday, Nov 22nd -----

All US markets will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving Day Holiday.

----- Friday, Nov 23rd -----

The NYSE and the NASDAQ will close early at 1:00 PM ET.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Phoenix Real Estate in October: Sales down 1% YoY, Active Inventory down 5% YoY

by Bill McBride on 11/16/2018 07:07:00 PM

This is a key housing market to follow since Phoenix saw a large bubble / bust followed by strong investor buying.

The Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) reports ("Stats Report"):

1) Overall sales declined to 7,182 from 7,268 in October 2017. Sales were up 4.1% from September, and down -1.2% from October 2017.

2) Active inventory was at 18,193, down from 19,190 in October 2017.   This is down 5.2% year-over-year.  This is the smallest YoY decrease in almost two years.  In many cities, inventory is increasing YoY, but not yet in Phoenix.

This is the twenty-fourth consecutive month with a YoY decrease in inventory in Phoenix.

Months of supply increased from 2.93 in September to 3.03 in October. This is still low.

Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in October

by Bill McBride on 11/16/2018 03:23:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in October

Based on publicly-available local realtor/MLS reports from across the country released through today, I project that existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.31 million in October, up 3.1% from October’s preliminary estimate, and down 3.5% from last October’s seasonally adjusted pace. Unadjusted sales should show a smaller YOY decline, reflecting the higher business day count this October compared to last October.

On the inventory front, local realtor/MLS data, as well as data from other inventory trackers, suggest that the inventory of existing homes for sale in October was down slightly from September, and I project that the NAR’s estimate of the inventory of existing homes for sales at the end of October will be 1.85 million, down 1.6% from September and up 2.8% from a year ago.

Finally, local realtor/MLS data suggest that the median US existing single-family home sales price last month was up about 4.5% from last October.

CR Note: The NAR is scheduled to release October existing home sales on Wednesday, Nov 21st.  The early consensus is that the NAR will report sales of 5.18 million SAAR.

NY Fed Q3 Report: "Total Household Debt Rises for 17th Straight Quarter"

by Bill McBride on 11/16/2018 11:09:00 AM

From the NY Fed: Total Household Debt Rises for 17th Straight Quarter

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today issued its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, which shows that total household debt increased by $219 billion (1.6%) to $13.51 trillion in the third quarter of 2018. It was the 17th consecutive quarter with an increase and the total is now $837 billion higher than the previous peak of $12.68 trillion in the third quarter of 2008. Furthermore, overall household debt is now 21.2% above the post-financial-crisis trough reached during the second quarter of 2013. The Report is based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample of individual- and household-level debt and credit records drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data.
Mortgage originations increased to $445 billion from $437 billion in the second quarter.

Mortgage delinquencies were roughly flat, with 1.1% of mortgage balances 90 or more days delinquent in the third quarter.
emphasis added
Total Household Debt Click on graph for larger image.

Here are two graphs from the report:

The first graph shows aggregate consumer debt increased in Q3.  Household debt previously peaked in 2008, and bottomed in Q2 2013.

From the NY Fed:
Aggregate household debt balances increased in the third quarter of 2018 for the 17th consecutive quarter, and are now $837 billion higher than the previous (2008Q3) peak of $12.68 trillion. As of September 30, 2018, total household indebtedness was $13.51 trillion, a $219 billion (1.6%) increase from the second quarter of 2018. Overall household debt is now 21.2% above the 2013Q2 trough. Included in report is a new section disaggregating data by borrower age.

Mortgage balances shown on consumer credit reports on September 30 stood at $9.1 trillion, an increase of $141 billion from the second quarter of 2018. Balances on home equity lines of credit (HELOC), on a declining trend since 2009, decreased by $10 billion in the third quarter and are now at $422 billion, the lowest level seen in 14 years. Non-housing balances jumped by $88 billion in the third quarter, with auto loans increasing by $27 billion, credit card balances going up by $15 billion, and student loan balances seeing a seasonally typical $37 billion increase.
Delinquency Status The second graph shows the percent of debt in delinquency. There is still a larger than normal percent of debt 90+ days delinquent (Yellow, orange and red).

The overall delinquency rate increased in Q3.  From the NY Fed:
Aggregate delinquency rates worsened in the third quarter of 2018. As of September 30, 4.7% of outstanding debt was in some stage of delinquency, an uptick from 4.5% in the second quarter and the largest in 7 years. Of the $638 billion of debt that is delinquent, $415 billion is seriously delinquent (at least 90 days late or “severely derogatory”). This increase was primarily due to a large increase in the flow into delinquency for student loan balances during the third quarter of 2018. The flow into 90+ day delinquency for credit card balances has been rising for the last year and remained elevated since then compared to its recent history, while the flow into 90+ day delinquency for auto loan balances has been slowly trending upward since 2012.

About 215,000 consumers had a bankruptcy notation added to their credit reports in 2018Q3, slightly higher than in the same quarter of last year. New bankruptcy notations have been at historically low levels since 2016.
There is much more in the report.

Kansas City Fed: Regional Manufacturing Activity "Growth Edged Higher" in November

by Bill McBride on 11/16/2018 11:00:00 AM

From the Kansas City Fed: Growth in Tenth District Manufacturing Activity Edged Higher

he Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City released the November Manufacturing Survey today. According to Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the survey revealed that growth in Tenth District manufacturing activity edged higher, while expectations for future activity moderated slightly.

“Firms reported a pickup in orders, production, and shipments in November, following some slowing in recent months” said Wilkerson.
The month-over-month composite index was 15 in November, up from 8 in October and 13 in September. The composite index is an average of the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes. The increase in factory growth was driven by both durable and nondurable goods producers, particularly metals, aircraft, food, and plastics. Most month-over-month indexes rose modestly. The production, shipments, new orders, and order backlog indexes all increased to their highest levels since the middle of the year. The new orders for exports index inched up from 3 to 6, while the employment index eased somewhat.
emphasis added

BLS: Unemployment Rates Lower in 6 states in October, Texas and Washington at New Series Lows

by Bill McBride on 11/16/2018 10:05:00 AM

From the BLS: Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary

Unemployment rates were lower in October in 6 states, higher in 2 states, and stable in 42 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.
Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate in October, 2.3 percent. The rates in Texas (3.7 percent) and Washington (4.3 percent) set new series lows. (All state series begin in 1976.) Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 6.4 percent.
emphasis added
State UnemploymentClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the number of states (and D.C.) with unemployment rates at or above certain levels since January 1976.

At the worst of the great recession, there were 11 states with an unemployment rate at or above 11% (red).

Currently only one state, Alaska, has an unemployment rate at or above 6% (dark blue).

Industrial Production Increased 0.1% in October

by Bill McBride on 11/16/2018 09:22:00 AM

From the Fed: Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization

Industrial production edged up 0.1 percent in October, as a gain for manufacturing outweighed decreases elsewhere. As a result of upward revisions primarily in mining, the overall index is now reported to have advanced at an annual rate of 4.7 percent in the third quarter, appreciably above the gain of 3.3 percent reported initially. Hurricanes lowered the level of industrial production in both September and October, but their effects appear to be less than 0.1 percent per month. In October, manufacturing output rose 0.3 percent for its fifth consecutive monthly increase, while the indexes for mining and for utilities declined 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. At 109.1 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 4.1 percent higher in October than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector was 78.4 percent, a rate that is 1.4 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average.
emphasis added
Capacity Utilization Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series is up 11.7 percentage points from the record low set in June 2009 (the series starts in 1967).

Capacity utilization at 78.4% is 1.4% below the average from 1972 to 2017 and below the pre-recession level of 80.8% in December 2007.

Note: y-axis doesn't start at zero to better show the change.

Industrial ProductionThe second graph shows industrial production since 1967.

Industrial production increased in October to 108.5. This is 25% above the recession low, and 4% above the pre-recession peak.

The increase in industrial production was below the consensus forecast, however the previous months were revised up.  Capacity utilization was above consensus.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Friday: Industrial Production, NY Fed Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit

by Bill McBride on 11/15/2018 07:07:00 PM

• At 9:15 AM ET, The Fed will release Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for October. The consensus is for a 0.2% increase in Industrial Production, and for Capacity Utilization to increase to 78.2%.

• At 10:00 AM, State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) for October 2018

• At 11:00 AM, From the NY Fed: Q3 Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit

• Also at 11:00 AM, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing survey for November.

California Existing Homes in October: Sales Down 7.9% YoY, Inventory Up 28%

by Bill McBride on 11/15/2018 02:53:00 PM

The CAR reported: Homebuyers continue to wait it out in October as market uncertainties linger

As market uncertainties continue to linger, California home sales declined for the sixth straight month in October and remained below the 400,000-level sales benchmark for the third consecutive month, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 397,060 units in October, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2018 if sales maintained the October pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

October’s sales figure was up 3.8 percent from the revised 382,550 level in September and down 7.9 percent compared with home sales in October 2017 of 431,070. October marked the third month in a row that sales were below 400,000, which hasn’t occurred since February 2015.

“Homebuyers continued to put their homeownership plans on hold in October and wait out the market,” said 2019 C.A.R. President Jared Martin. “With mortgage rates at seven-year highs making homeownership more expensive and home prices beginning to flatten, this phenomenon will likely continue for the near term as buyers wait for further price adjustments and for interest rates to stabilize.”
Statewide active listings rose for the seventh consecutive month after nearly three straight years of declines, increasing 28 percent from the previous year. October’s listings increase was the largest in four years.
emphasis added
Here is some inventory data from the NAR and CAR (ht Tom Lawler).  Notice inventory is really increasing year-over-year in California.

YOY % Change, Existing SF Homes for Sale