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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wednesday: FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile

by Calculated Risk on 5/28/2013 09:19:00 PM

Earlier on house prices:
Case-Shiller: Comp 20 House Prices increased 10.9% year-over-year in March

Real House Prices, Price-to-Rent Ratio, City Prices relative to 2000

And from Nick Timiraos at the WSJ about concerns of a new bubble: Home Sales Power Optimism

The pace of home-price gains has raised concerns among some economists over whether low mortgage rates have stimulated unsustainable home-price inflation—the proverbial bubble that some critics of Fed policies have feared. ...

The worries about rapid price growth look especially founded in more expensive markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego that have witnessed double-digit price gains over the past year. While home prices still look cheap on a historical basis, "the trouble is that that impression is almost entirely the function of low mortgage rates," said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow Inc. Cheap credit is "distorting housing considerably," he said.

Others say it's too soon for alarm. Price gains largely reflect a rebound from low levels and prices remain largely in line with their long-run relationship between incomes and rents, said Christopher Thornberg, an economist with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles. "Could this thing go on too long? Absolutely," he said. "Could it turn into the next bubble? Absolutely. But we're not there yet, so I'm not going to start screaming 'Bubble.' "
And from Catherine Rampell at the NY Times: Homes See Biggest Price Gain in Years, Propelling Stocks
Economists generally expect home prices to continue rising, particularly as the economy improves and more young people move out of their parents’ homes and into homes of their own. And many dismiss concerns of a potential bubble, not only because household formation is growing but also because housing prices remain well below their highs. Even after 10 straight months of year-over-year gains, the 20-city Case-Shiller composite price index is 28 percent below its previous peak in July 2006, which is probably a good thing.

“Talk of a house price bubble seems premature,” said Ed Stansfield, an economist at Capital Economics. “In relation to incomes, rents or their own past, U.S. home prices still look low.”

What’s more, credit is still hard to come by. The Federal Reserve has pushed interest rates down about as far as they can go, but many people who want to buy are still finding it difficult to get a home loan.

“We usually think of bubbles as being driven by extremely easy credit, with people borrowing more than the outstanding value of the house and making little to no down payment,” said Mr. Gapen. “That’s not the case with credit standards today.”
Wednesday economic releases:
• At 7:00 AM ET, Update: Because of the holiday, this will probably be released on Thursday. the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index. Look for rising mortgage rates.

• At 10:00 AM, the FDIC will release the Q1 Quarterly Banking Profile and hold "a press conference to discuss a comprehensive summary of the first quarter 2013 financial results for all FDIC-insured institutions". The webcast of the press conference will be available here.