In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekly Summary and a Look Ahead

by Calculated Risk on 4/18/2010 11:50:00 AM

There will be two key housing reports released at the end of this week: Existing Home sales on Thursday and New Home sales on Friday.

Early in the week, the LoanPerformance house price index (for February) will be released. This will probably show further price declines in February (not seasonally adjusted). Other reports that will be released this week include the Moodys/REAL Commercial Property Price Index (for February), DOTs Vehicle Miles Driven for February, and the DataQuick's Q1 Notice of Defaults (NODs) report for California.

On Monday, the Conference Board's index of leading indicators for March will be released at 10 AM.

On Wednesday, the AIA's Architecture Billings Index for March will be released (a leading indicator for commercial real estate). Also the weekly MBA Mortgage Purchase Applications index will be released.

On Thursday the closely watched initial weekly unemployment claims will be released at 8:30 AM. The consensus is for a decline to 460K this week from 484K last week. The NAR will release Existing Home sales for March at 10 AM. The consensus is for an increase in sales to 5.25 million (SAAR) from 5.02 million (SAAR) in February. The FHFA house price index will be released on Thursday (although Case-Shiller and LoanPerformance are probably the most followed).

On Friday, March Durable Goods Orders will be released at 8:30 AM. The consensus is for a 0.4% increase. New Home sales for March will be released at 10 AM, and consensus is for an increase to 330 thousand (SAAR) from the record low 308 thousand SAAR in February.

Also on Friday the FDIC might close several more banks ...

And a summary of last week:

  • Housing Starts in March

    Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts Click on graph for larger image in new window.

    Total housing starts were at 626 thousand (SAAR) in March, up 1.6% from the revised February rate, and up 30% from the all time record low in April 2009 of 479 thousand (the lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking housing starts in 1959).

    Single-family starts were at 531 thousand (SAAR) in March, down 0.9% from the revised February rate, and 49% above the record low in January and February 2009 (357 thousand).

    Here is the Census Bureau report on housing Permits, Starts and Completions

  • NAHB Builder Confidence increases in April

    Residential NAHB Housing Market IndexThis graph shows the builder confidence index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

    The housing market index (HMI) was at 19 in April. This is an increase from 15 in March. The increase this month was driven by traffic of prospective buyers and current sales - and this was the last month that buyers can take advantage of the housing tax credit - so this increase was no surprise.

    Note: any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.

  • Industrial Production, Capacity Utilization increase in March

    From the Fed: Industrial production and Capacity Utilization

    Capacity UtilizationThis graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series is up 7.2% from the record low set in June 2009 (the series starts in 1967).

    Capacity utilization at 73.2% is still far below normal - and 9.1% below the the pre-recession levels of 80.5% in November 2007.

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

    Also - this is the highest level for industrial production since Dec 2008, but production is still 9.6% below the pre-recession levels at the end of 2007.

  • Retail Sales increase sharply in March

    On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 1.6% from February to March (seasonally adjusted, after revisions), and sales were up 7.6% from March 2009 (easy comparison).

    Retail Sales This graph shows retail sales since 1992. This is monthly retail sales, seasonally adjusted (total and ex-gasoline).

    The red line shows retail sales ex-gasoline and shows the increase in final demand ex-gasoline has been sluggish.

    Retail sales are up 8.3% from the bottom, but still off 4.4% from the peak.

  • Trade Deficit increases in February

    U.S. Trade Exports Imports
    The Census Bureau reports:
    [T]otal February exports of $143.2 billion and imports of $182.9 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $39.7 billion, up from $37.0 billion in January, revised.
    The graph shows the monthly U.S. exports and imports in dollars through February 2010.

    On a year-over-year basis, exports are up 14% and imports are up 20%. This is an easy comparison because of the collapse in trade at the end of 2008 and into early 2009. This is the first time since late 2008 that imports are up a greater percentage than exports on a YoY basis as export growth appears to have slowed.

  • March State Unemployment Rates

    From the BLS: Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary

    State Unemployment This graph shows the high and low unemployment rates for each state (and D.C.) since 1976. The red bar is the current unemployment rate (sorted by the current unemployment rate).

    Fifteen states and D.C. now have double digit unemployment rates. New Jersey and Indiana are close.

    Four states and set new series record highs: California, Florida, Nevada and Georgia.

  • Other Economic Stories ...

  • From the SEC: SEC Charges Goldman Sachs With Fraud in Structuring and Marketing of CDO Tied to Subprime Mortgages

  • From Kirsten Grind and Alwyn Scott at Puget Sound Business Journal: Federal regulators testify about seizing WaMu

  • From the National Federation of Independent Business: Small Business Optimism Declines in March

  • From UCLA Anderson Forecast and Ceridian March PCI Increase Indicates U.S. Economy on 4 Percent Growth Track

  • Official report on Iceland Bank Failures.

  • From RealtyTrac: Foreclosure Activity Increases 7 Percent in First Quarter

  • From Tom Lawler: BoA and Chase on Second Mortgages

  • Unofficial Problem Bank List hits 698

    Best wishes to all.