Sunday, June 30, 2013

Monday: ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending

by Calculated Risk on 6/30/2013 10:14:00 PM

• At 9:00 AM ET, the Markit US PMI Manufacturing Index for June will be released. The consensus is for the index to be unchanged at 52.3.

• At 10:00 AM, the ISM Manufacturing Index for June. The consensus is for an increase to 50.5 from 49.0 in May. Based on the regional surveys, a reading above 50 seems likely.

• Also at 10:00 AM, Construction Spending for May. The consensus is for a 0.6% increase in construction spending.

Schedule for Week of June 30th

The Asian markets are red tonight with the Nikkei down 0.2%, and Shanghai Composite down 0.4%.

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: the S&P futures are down 5 and DOW futures are down 25 (fair value).

Oil prices have mostly moved sideways recently with WTI futures at $96.07 per barrel and Brent at $101.70 per barrel.

Below is a graph from for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are down to about $3.50 per gallon. Based on Brent prices and the calculator at Econbrowser, I expect gasoline prices to fall a little more.

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

How many Jobs are Needed to Reach Fed's December Unemployment Rate Target for QE3 Tapering?

by Calculated Risk on 6/30/2013 06:18:00 PM

This is a common question, and I suggest using the Atlanta Fed's Jobs Calculator tool to estimate how many jobs per month will be needed to reach a certain unemployment level.

As an example, for the unemployment rate to decline to 7.3% in December (the high end of the Fed's forecast), with the participation rate staying steady at 63.4%, would require about 150,000 jobs per month for the next seven months.  This seems very possible.

If the participation rate increases to 63.6%, than the economy would need to add 210,000 jobs per month for the unemployment rate to fall to 7.3% in December (this is just an estimate).

You can put in your own assumptions to the calculator.

Another frequent question is when will the unemployment rate fall to 6.5% (the Fed's threshold, but not trigger, for raising the Fed's funds rate). If the participation rate stays steady, the unemployment rate will fall to 6.5% in December 2014 if the economy adds around 185,000 jobs per month.   This is consistent with the Fed not raising rates until 2015 or later.

Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 749 Institutions, Q2 Transition Matrix

by Calculated Risk on 6/30/2013 09:54:00 AM

This is an unofficial list of Problem Banks compiled only from public sources.

Here is the unofficial problem bank list for June 28, 2013.

Changes and comments from surferdude808:

With the FDIC releasing its enforcement actions through May 2013, there were many changes to the Unofficial Problem Bank List. For the week, there were seven removals and five additions that leave the at 749 institutions with assets of $273.3 billion. For the month of June, the list fell by a net 12 institutions after seven additions, seven action terminations, six unassisted mergers, five failures, and one voluntary liquidation. Assets fell by $4.02 billion, which is the smallest decline since a $3.99 billion in November 2012. In addition, there was a noticeable slowdown in action terminations, which were last at this level in November 2011.

This week actions were terminated against Farmers Bank, Ault, CO ($232 million); Peoples Bank & Trust Company, Owenton, KY ($64 million); Lakeview Bank, Lakeville, MN ($54 million); Park State Bank, Duluth, MN ($30 million); and Roxbury Bank, Roxbury, KS ($14 million). Also, the FDIC terminated a Prompt Corrective Action order against First Sound Bank, Seattle, WA ($123 million), but it is still subject to a Consent Order. Other removals from finding merger partners include First National Bank of Illinois, Lansing, IL ($374 million) and Community State Bank, Norwalk, WI ($24 million).

Additions this week were Bay Cities Bank, Tampa, FL ($534 million); Oswego Community Bank, Oswego, IL ($194 million); SunSouth Bank, Dothan, AL ($178 million); VistaBank, Aiken, SC ($109 million); and First State Bank of Swanville, Swanville, MN ($30 million).

As promised last week, we have updated the transition matrix with the passage of the second quarter of 2013. Full details may be found in the accompanying table. As depicted, there have been a total of 1,644 institutions with assets of $811.4 billion that have appeared on the list. A little more the 54 percent of the institutions that have appeared on the list have been removed. A total of 895 institutions are no longer on the list. Since the publishing start of this list in 2009, failure has been the primary manner of exit; however, at this point, terminations are now responsible for more removals at 377. Close behind are failures at 363 while finding a merger partner has been responsible for 144 removals. While failures have slipped as the primary form of exit from the list, the amount of assets removed for failure total $292.6 billion, which dwarfs $164.4 billion in assets from institutions where actions were terminated.

As discussed above, there was a discernible slowdown in the pace of action terminations this month and quarter. There were 34 terminations during the quarter, which represented 4.5 percent of the 757 institutions that were on the list at the start of the quarter. During the first quarter of 2013, the termination rate was 6.1 percent. The 34 terminations were the lowest quarterly count since 32 in the first quarter of 2012. There were 108 institutions still hanging around from the original publication at the start of the second quarter of 2013, but only four were removed this quarter because of action termination, which was a much lower termination rate of 3.7 percent. The transition methods of the 389 institutions on the original list in August 2009 does differ significantly from the pool of subsequent additions.
Unofficial Problem Bank List
Change Summary
 Number of InstitutionsAssets ($Thousands)
Start (8/7/2009) 389276,313,429
 Action Terminated108(31,933,282)
 Unassisted Merger27(4,452,830)
 Voluntary Liquidation4(10,584,114)
 Asset Change (8,734,399)
Still on List at 6/30/2013 10037,292,562
Additions 649235,975,860
End (6/30/2013) 749273,268,422
Intraperiod Deletions1   
 Action Terminated269132,439,197
 Unassisted Merger11755,560,134
 Voluntary Liquidation71,760,816
1Institution not on 8/7/2009 or 6/30/2013 list but appeared on a weekly list.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Oil: The Disappearing Brent / WTI Spread

by Calculated Risk on 6/29/2013 05:54:00 PM

The WSJ Real Time Economics has an article today on the declining spread between Brent crude oil and West Texas Intermediate (WTI). (note: this is something we discussed a few weeks ago).

From Ben Casselman at the WSJ: Number of the Week: U.S. Oil Boom Affecting Global Prices

The U.S. pumped 6.5 million barrels a day of oil last year, according to the Energy Information Administration, the most since the mid-1990s, and production has continued to surge; April’s figure of 7.4 million barrels per day marked the best month in more than two decades.
The industry wasn’t expecting the huge surge in production from North Dakota, so companies didn’t have the pipelines in place to handle all the new oil. So rather than flow into the global market, much of the oil stayed in the middle of the U.S.

Now, however, the gap between WTI and Brent is starting to narrow, as a new report from the Energy Information Administration makes clear. The industry has expanded pipeline capacity and found other ways, such as rail cars, to get oil from the middle of the country to major demand centers on the coasts. Meanwhile, coastal refineries are shifting to use more domestic crudes, leading to lower demand for Brent. The result: The gap between the two prices has narrowed to under $10 per barrel.
But, until the gap disappears completely, we still need to use Brent crude prices to forecast U.S. gasoline prices.

Brent Cushing Click on graph for larger image.

Here is an update to the graph in the previous post that shows the divergence between Brent and Cushing starting in 2011.

Recently the spread has been closing. At one point Brent was selling for about 25% more than WTI (even though they are comparable quality). Now the difference is under 7% (and less than $7 per barrel).

Schedule for Week of June 30th

by Calculated Risk on 6/29/2013 08:05:00 AM

Happy Independence Day! The key report this week is the June employment report on Friday.

Other key reports include the ISM manufacturing index on Monday, auto sales on Tuesday, the Trade Balance report on Wednesday, and the ISM service index also on Wednesday.

Also Reis will release their Q2 2013 Mall vacancy rate survey this week.

----- Monday, July 1st -----

9:00 AM: The Markit US PMI Manufacturing Index for June. The consensus is for the index to be unchanged at 52.3.

ISM PMI10:00 AM ET: ISM Manufacturing Index for June. The consensus is for an increase to 50.5 from 49.0 in May.  Based on the regional surveys, a reading above 50 seems likely.

Here is a long term graph of the ISM manufacturing index.

The ISM manufacturing index indicated contraction in May at 49.0%. The employment index was at 50.1%, down from 50.2%, and the new orders index was at 48.8%, down from 52.3% in April.

10:00 AM: Construction Spending for May. The consensus is for a 0.6% increase in construction spending.

----- Tuesday, July 2nd -----

Vehicle SalesAll day: Light vehicle sales for June. The consensus is for light vehicle sales to increase to 15.5 million SAAR in June (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) from 15.3 million SAAR in May.

This graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967. The dashed line is the May sales rate.

10:00 AM: Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders (Factory Orders) for May. The consensus is for a 2.0% increase in orders.

----- Wednesday, July 3rd -----

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

8:15 AM: The ADP Employment Report for June. This report is for private payrolls only (no government). The consensus is for 165,000 payroll jobs added in June.  

U.S. Trade Exports Imports 8:30 AM: Trade Balance report for May from the Census Bureau.

The graphs shows both exports and imports increased in April, but have mostly been moving sideways.

The consensus is for the U.S. trade deficit to increase to $40.8 billion in May from $40.3 billion in April.

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released. The consensus is for a decrease to 345 thousand from 346 thousand last week.

10:00 AM: ISM non-Manufacturing Index for June. The consensus is for a reading of 54.5, up from 53.7 in May. Note: Above 50 indicates expansion, below 50 contraction.

10:00 AM: Trulia Price Rent Monitors for June. This is the index from Trulia that uses asking house prices adjusted both for the mix of homes listed for sale and for seasonal factors.

Early: Reis Q2 2013 Mall Survey of rents and vacancy rates.

----- Thursday, July 4th -----

All US markets are closed in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

----- Friday, July 5th -----

8:30 AM: Employment Report for June. The consensus is for an increase of 161,000 non-farm payroll jobs in June; the economy added 175,000 non-farm payroll jobs in May.

The consensus is for the unemployment rate to decrease to 7.5% in June.

The following graph shows the percentage of payroll jobs lost during post WWII recessions through May.

Percent Job Losses During RecessionsThe economy has added 6.9 million private sector jobs since employment bottomed in February 2010 (6.3 million total jobs added including all the public sector layoffs).

There are still 1.9 million fewer private sector jobs now than when the recession started in 2007.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Goldman on The Impact on GDP of Higher Mortgage Rates

by Calculated Risk on 6/28/2013 09:59:00 PM

A few brief excerpts from a research note by economists Kris Dawsey and Hui Shan at Goldman Sachs: The Drag from Higher Mortgage Rates

The rise in mortgage rates may impact the economy through two broad channels: (1) the direct impact on construction activity and home sales, which feed into the residential investment component of GDP, and (2) the indirect effects of lower home prices and less refinancing activity on consumption.

Complementing our past research on the impact of mortgage rates on various aspects of housing, we use a vector autoregression (VAR)-based approach to trace out the potential impact of the rise in mortgage rates. This analysis points to a manageable total impact on real GDP growth over the coming year of roughly two tenths of a percentage point. The direct effects of higher mortgage rates are likely to be larger in magnitude than the indirect effects.

Our estimate is subject to uncertainty. On the one hand, factors other than housing affordability―such as origination capacity constraints and borrower credit quality issues―are at present probably more important constraints than they have been historically. As a result, the sensitivity of housing indicators to changes in mortgage rates may be lower than historical estimates suggest. On the other hand, for technical reasons the nature of our statistical analysis may understate the magnitude of the potential impact.
My view - as I noted in House Prices and Mortgage Rates earlier this week - is that higher mortgage rates might slow price increases, but not lead to a decline in prices. I'll look into the relationship between mortgage rates and activity, but my first guess is the recent increase in rates will not slow the recovery in residential investment.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac: Mortgage Serious Delinquency rates declined in May, Lowest since early 2009

by Calculated Risk on 6/28/2013 04:20:00 PM

Fannie Mae reported that the Single-Family Serious Delinquency rate declined in May to 2.83% from 2.93% in April. The serious delinquency rate is down from 3.57% in May 2012, and this is the lowest level since January 2009.

The Fannie Mae serious delinquency rate peaked in February 2010 at 5.59%.

Freddie Mac reported that the Single-Family serious delinquency rate declined in May to 2.85% from 2.91% in April. Freddie's rate is down from 3.50% in May 2012, and this is the lowest level since May 2009. Freddie's serious delinquency rate peaked in February 2010 at 4.20%.

Note: These are mortgage loans that are "three monthly payments or more past due or in foreclosure".

Fannie Freddie Seriously Delinquent RateClick on graph for larger image

Although this indicates some progress, the "normal" serious delinquency rate is under 1%. 

At the recent rate of improvement, the serious delinquency rate will not be under 1% until 2016 or even 2017.

Zillow: Case-Shiller House Price Index expected to show over 12% year-over-year increase in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/28/2013 02:19:00 PM

The Case-Shiller house price indexes for May will be released Tuesday, July 30th. Zillow has started forecasting Case-Shiller a month early - and I like to check the Zillow forecasts since they have been pretty close. Note: Zillow makes a strong argument that the Case-Shiller index is currently overstating national house price appreciation.

Zillow Predicts Another 12% Annual Increase in Case-Shiller Indices for May

The Case-Shiller data for April came out [Tuesday] and, based on this information and the May 2013 Zillow Home Value Index (released last week), we predict that next month’s Case-Shiller data (May 2013) will show that the 20-City Composite Home Price Index (non-seasonally adjusted [NSA]) increased 12.1 percent on a year-over-year basis, while the 10-City Composite Home Price Index (NSA) increased 12.2 percent on a year-over-year basis. The seasonally adjusted (SA) month-over-month change from April to May will be 1.3 percent for the 20-City Composite and 1.6 percent for the 10-City Composite Home Price Indices (SA).
The Case-Shiller indices are giving an inflated sense of national home value appreciation because they are biased toward the large, coastal metros currently seeing such enormous home value gains, and because they include foreclosure resales. The inclusion of foreclosure resales disproportionately boosts the index when these properties sell again for much higher prices — not just because of market improvements, but also because the sales are no longer distressed. In contrast, the ZHVI does not include foreclosure resales and shows home values for May 2013 up 5.4 percent from year-ago levels. We expect home value appreciation to continue to moderate in 2013, rising only 4.1 percent between May 2013 and May 2014. Further details on our forecast of home values can be found here, and more on Zillow’s full May 2013 report can be found here.

To forecast the Case-Shiller indices, we use the March Case-Shiller index level, as well as the April Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), which is available more than a month in advance of the Case-Shiller index, paired with April foreclosure resale numbers, which Zillow also publishes more than a month prior to the release of the Case-Shiller index. Together, these data points enable us to reliably forecast the Case-Shiller 10-City and 20-City Composite indices.
The following table shows the Zillow forecast for the May Case-Shiller index.

Zillow May Forecast for Case-Shiller Index
 Case Shiller Composite 10Case Shiller Composite 20
Case Shiller
(year ago)
May 2012151.75152.67139.2140.06
(last month)
Apr 2013165.63168.76152.37155.37
Zillow ForecastYoY12.2%12.2%12.1%12.1%
Zillow Forecasts1 170.3171.4156.0157.2
Current Post Bubble Low 146.46149.55134.07136.85
Date of Post Bubble Low Mar-12Jan-12Mar-12Jan-12
Above Post Bubble Low 16.3%14.6%16.4%14.9%
1Estimate based on Year-over-year and Month-over-month Zillow forecasts

Restaurant Performance Index at 14 month high in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/28/2013 11:54:00 AM

From the National Restaurant Association: Restaurant Performance Index Hits 14-Month High on Positive Sales and Customer Traffic Results

Buoyed by stronger same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) hit a 14-month high in May. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.8 in May, up 0.9 percent from April and the third consecutive monthly gain. May also represented the third straight month that the RPI surpassed the 100 level, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“The May increase in the Restaurant Performance Index was driven by broad-based gains in the current situation indicators, most notably positive same-store sales and customer traffic results,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “In addition, restaurant operators remain optimistic about continued sales growth and a majority plan to make a capital expenditure in the next six months.”
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 101.6 in May – up 1.6 percent from a level of 100.1 in April. May represented the strongest Current Situation Index reading since March 2012, and signifies expansion in the current situation indicators.
Restaurant Performance Index Click on graph for larger image.

The index increased to 101.8 in May from 101.0 in April. (above 100 indicates expansion).

Restaurant spending is discretionary, so even though this is "D-list" data, I like to check it every month. 

Final June Consumer Sentiment at 84.1, Chicago PMI declines to 51.6

by Calculated Risk on 6/28/2013 10:00:00 AM

Consumer Sentiment
Click on graph for larger image.

• The final Reuters / University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for June decreased to 84.1 from the May reading of 84.5, but up from the preliminary June reading of 82.7.

This was above the consensus forecast of 83.0. Sentiment has generally been improving following the recession - with plenty of ups and downs - and one big spike down when Congress threatened to "not pay the bills" in 2011.

• From the Chicago ISM:

June 2013:

The Chicago Business BarometerTM declined to 51.6 in June, the largest monthly drop since October 2008, and down from a 14-month high of 58.7 in May. The gyrations seen over the past few months are not typical for the Barometer and some of this might be attributable to the unseasonable weather conditions.
Of the five Business Activity measures which make up the Barometer, four declined with only the Employment indicator posting an increase. Order Backlogs plunged deep into contraction to the lowest level since September 2009 and was the single biggest drag on Barometer. Faster Supplier Delivery times and declines in Production and New Orders also contributed to the Barometer’s weakness.
PMI: Decreased to 51.6 from 58.7. (Above 50 is expansion).

This was well below the consensus estimate of 55.0.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Friday: Chicago PMI, Consumer Sentiment

by Calculated Risk on 6/27/2013 10:12:00 PM

Three interesting reads ...

From Merrill Lynch on house prices:

The momentum in home prices has continued to exceed even our bullish expectations. The S&P Case-Shiller index increased 16.7% annualized in 1Q and continued to climb higher in April, sending prices to a 12.1% yoy rate. We therefore have revised up our forecast for home prices from 8% 4Q/4Q growth this year to 11.8% 4Q/4Q. The three factors boosting home prices have been: shrinking share of distressed properties, low months supply and an increase in momentum; we believe the latter is the most powerful.
We also maintain our forecast that home price appreciation will slow to 6.5% next year with a risk of annual price declines within the next five years. This is decidedly not the beginning of a housing bubble.
I expect more inventory to come on the market, and for price increases to slow.

From Peter Nicholas and Jon Hilsenrath at the WSJ on the next Fed Chairperson: White House Assembles List of Potential Bernanke Successors at Fed
People familiar with the process wouldn't divulge any names on the shortlist, but said there was no front-runner. The White House is still in an early stage of the process and might not announce its selection until the early fall, they said.
Let me help - the front runner is Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen.

And Josh Lehner looks at state level employment data and expects an upward revision to national employment: State Employment Revisions, 2012q4
Using this quick method of comparing the different data series, the private sector sum of all the individual states is expected to be revised upward by approximately 500,000 (0.5%) for December. However, the topline U.S. employment estimate is currently larger than the sum of states would suggest. As such, we can expect a somewhat smaller upward revisions of around one month’s worth of job gains (200,000) in the national figures.
• At 9:45 AM ET, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for June will be released. The consensus is for a decrease to 55.0, down from 58.7 in May.

• At 9:55 AM, the Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index (final for June). The consensus is for a reading of 83.0.

Hotels: Occupancy Rate tracking pre-recession levels

by Calculated Risk on 6/27/2013 07:08:00 PM

Another update on hotels from STR: Chicago tops weekly ADR, RevPAR gains

Overall, the U.S. hotel industry’s occupancy rose 0.5% to 72.5%, its ADR increased 4.1% to $111.64 and its RevPAR grew 4.6% to $80.96.
The 4-week average of the occupancy rate is close to normal levels.

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.

Hotel Occupancy Rate Click on graph for larger image.

The red line is for 2013, yellow is for 2012, blue is "normal" and black is for 2009 - the worst year since the Great Depression for hotels.

Through June 22nd, the 4-week average of the occupancy rate is slightly higher than the same period last year and is tracking the pre-recession levels. The occupancy rate will probably increase over the next couple of months - the summer travel season is here!

Data Source: Smith Travel Research, Courtesy of

Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates highest since July 2011

by Calculated Risk on 6/27/2013 03:06:00 PM

From Freddie Mac today: Mortgage Rates Roiling From Taper Talk

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates jumping along with bond yields amid recent Fed remarks that it could begin tapering its bond purchases later this year. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 3.93 percent last week to 4.46 percent this week; the highest it has been since the week of July 28, 2011. ...

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.46 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending June 27, 2013, up from last week when it averaged 3.93 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.66 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 3.50 percent with an average 0.8 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.04 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.94 percent.
Mortgage rates have increased for seven consecutive weeks, and spiked higher last week.

This graph shows the relationship between the monthly 10 year Treasury Yield and 30 year mortgage rates from the Freddie Mac survey. 

Mortgage rates and 10 year Treasury YieldClick on graph for larger image.

Currently the 10 year Treasury yield is 2.48% and 30 year mortgage rates are at 4.46% (according to Freddie Mac). Based on the relationship from the graph, if the ten year yield stays in this range, 30 year mortgage rates might move down next week to 4.4% or so in the Freddie Mac survey.

Note: The yellow markers are for the last three years with the ten year yield below 3%. A trend line through the yellow markers only is a little lower, but still over 4.2% at the current 10 year Treasury yield.

Mortgage rates and Refinance indexThe second graph shows the 30 year fixed rate mortgage interest rate from the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey® compared to the MBA refinance index.

The refinance index has dropped sharply recently (down almost 42% over the last 7 weeks) and will probably decline significantly if rates stay at this level.

Kansas City Fed: Regional Manufacturing contracted in June

by Calculated Risk on 6/27/2013 12:29:00 PM

From the Kansas City Fed: Tenth District Manufacturing Survey Fell Modestly

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City released the June Manufacturing Survey today. According to Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the survey revealed that Tenth District manufacturing activity fell modestly, although producers’ expectations for future activity continued to increase.

“We were a bit discouraged to see factory activity decline in June after it expanded slightly in May,” said Wilkerson. “But quite a few contacts lost production or had shipments delayed due to regional storms and flooding, so the downturn appears like it may be temporary.”

The month-over-month composite index was -5 in June, down from 2 in May but equal to -5 in April and March ... Other month-over-month indexes showed mixed results. The production index dropped from 5 to -17, its lowest level since March 2009, and the shipments and new orders indexes also fell markedly. The order backlog and employment indexes increased somewhat but still remain slightly below zero.
Here is a graph comparing the regional Fed surveys and the ISM manufacturing index:

Fed Manufacturing Surveys and ISM PMI Click on graph for larger image.

The New York and Philly Fed surveys are averaged together (dashed green, through June), and five Fed surveys are averaged (blue, through June) including New York, Philly, Richmond, Dallas and Kansas City. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) PMI (red) is through May (right axis).

All of the regional surveys - except Kansas City - showed expansion in June, and the Kansas City region was impact by flooding.  The ISM index for June will be released Monday, July 1st, and these surveys suggest a reading above 50 (expansion).

Personal Income increase 0.5% in May, Spending increased 0.3%

by Calculated Risk on 6/27/2013 10:33:00 AM

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

Personal income increased $69.4 billion, or 0.5 percent ... in May, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $29.0 billion, or 0.3 percent.
Real PCE -- PCE adjusted to remove price changes -- increased 0.2 percent in May, in contrast to a decrease of 0.1 percent in April. ... The price index for PCE increased 0.1 percent in May, in contrast to a decrease of 0.3 percent in April. The PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.1 percent, compared with an increase of less than 0.1 percent.
The following graph shows real Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) through May (2005 dollars). Note that the y-axis doesn't start at zero to better show the change.

Personal Consumption Expenditures Click on graph for larger image.

The dashed red lines are the quarterly levels for real PCE.

Using the two-month method to estimate Q2 PCE growth (first two months of the quarter), PCE was increasing at a 1.8% annual rate in Q2 2013 (using mid-month method, PCE was increasing at 1.5% rate).   This suggests GDP growth will be weaker in Q2 than in Q1.

Last week I posted Four Charts to Track Timing for QE3 Tapering . Here is an update to the inflation charts.

FOMC Projection PCE price TrackingThis graph is for PCE prices.

The current forecast is for prices to increase 0.8% to 1.2% from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013.

We only have data through May, but so far PCE prices are below this projection - and this projection is significantly below the FOMC target of 2%. Clearly the FOMC expects inflation to pickup, and a key is if the recent decline in inflation is "transitory".

FOMC Projection Core PCE Price TrackingThe second graph is for core PCE prices.

The current forecast is for core prices to increase 1.2% to 1.3% from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013.

Once again we only have data through May, but so far core PCE prices are below this projection - and, once again, this projection is significantly below the FOMC target of 2%. Clearly the FOMC expects core inflation to pickup too.

It is possible that the FOMC could start to taper QE3 purchases in December, but it would take a  pickup in the economy AND an increase in inflation. (September tapering is less likely, but not impossible - but the pickup would have to be significant over the next two months).

NAR: Pending Home Sales index increased in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/27/2013 10:06:00 AM

From the NAR: May Pending Home Sales Reach Highest Level in Over Six Years

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 6.7 percent to 112.3 in May from a downwardly revised 105.2 in April, and is 12.1 percent above May 2012 when it was 100.2; the data reflect contracts but not closings.

Contract activity is at the strongest pace since December 2006 when it reached 112.8; pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 25 months.
The PHSI in the Northeast was unchanged at 92.3 in May but is 14.3 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index jumped 10.2 percent to 115.5 in May and is 22.2 percent higher than May 2012. Pending home sales in the South rose 2.8 percent to an index of 121.8 in May and are 12.3 percent above a year ago. The index in the West jumped 16.0 percent in May to 109.7, but with limited inventory is only 1.1 percent above May 2012.
Contract signings usually lead sales by about 45 to 60 days, so this would usually be for closed sales in June and July.

With limited inventory at the low end and fewer foreclosures, we might see flat existing home sales going forward (the NAR is forecasting a 9% increase this year to 5.07 million sales).

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decline to 346,000

by Calculated Risk on 6/27/2013 08:36:00 AM

NOTE: The BEA reported on Personal Income and Outlays for May.

Personal income increased $69.4 billion, or 0.5 percent ... Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $29.0 billion, or 0.3 percent.

The price index for PCE increased 0.1 percent in May ... The PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.1 percent
The consensus was for a 0.2% increase in personal income in May, and for a 0.4% increase in personal spending. And for the Core PCE price index to increase 0.1%. I'll have more on this report soon.

The DOL reports:
In the week ending June 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 346,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 355,000. The 4-week moving average was 345,750, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 348,500.
The previous week was revised up from 354,000.

The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since January 2000.

Click on graph for larger image.

The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims increased to 345,750.

The 4-week average has mostly moved sideways over the last few months.  Claims were close to the 345,000 consensus forecast.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thursday: Personal Income and Outlays for May, Weekly Unemployment Claims

by Calculated Risk on 6/26/2013 09:59:00 PM

From Cardiff Garcia at the FT Alphaville: Rates and the US housing market

We don’t mean to be entirely dismissive of the prevailing higher rates. The economy didn’t need any shade thrown at one of its few bright spots, especially with the continued fiscal drag and steady-but-unimpressive employment gains. Low rates not only spur along housing but also make credit more affordable for buying durable goods and automobiles, purchases of which often accompany newly formed households.

And there isn’t much evidence (yet) to show that the fundamental supply-side problems we previously discussed have been mitigated, as such improvements would partly depend on the housing market’s continued rebound and wider improvements in the economy.

But at least the higher rates have arrived at a time when the housing market had favourable momentum.
• At 8:30 AM ET, the Personal Income and Outlays report for May. The consensus is for a 0.2% increase in personal income in April, and for a 0.4% increase in personal spending. And for the Core PCE price index to increase 0.1%.

• Also at 8:30 AM, the initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released. The consensus is for an decrease to 345 thousand from 354 thousand last week.

• At 10:00 AM, the Pending Home Sales Index for May from the NAR. The consensus is for a 1.0% increase in the index.

• At 11:00 AM, the Kansas City Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for June. This is the last of the regional manufacturing surveys for June. The consensus is for a reading of 4 for this survey, up from 2 in May (Above zero is expansion).

House Prices and Mortgage Rates

by Calculated Risk on 6/26/2013 05:20:00 PM

Several people have asked me about a comment from Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan as quoted in a NY Times article a couple of weeks ago: In a Shift, Interest Rates Are Rising

“There’s no strong correlation between interest rates and home prices,” said Douglas Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae.
Duncan is correct.

However, a key difference now compared to earlier periods, is that there is more investor buying. And investors will compare their returns on different investments - and rising rates will probably slow investor demand for real estate, even if they are all cash buyers.   But, in general, I think rising rates might slow price increases but not lead to a decline in prices (we might see some seasonal declines).

I'll post some more thoughts on the relationship between house prices and interest rates (long term readers might remember I wrote about this in 2005), but first I'd like to post a couple of graphs.

House Prices and Mortgage Rates Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the Corelogic House Price Index (started in 1976) and 30 year fixed mortgage rates as reported by Freddie Mac in their weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey® .

Even with mortgage rates rising sharply in the late '70s, house prices continued to increase. And there were a few spikes in interest rates (like in 2000) that didn't slow price increases.

Real House Prices and Mortgage RatesThe second graph shows the same data, but with house prices in real terms (adjusted for inflation).

Real prices were fairly flat in the late '70s and early '80s ... so maybe the spike in interest rates slowed price increases ... and then the economic weakness in the early '80s kept prices from rising even as mortgage rates declined.

In the early '90s, economic weakness (and the unwinding of a small housing bubble in certain states),  lead to falling real prices even as mortgage rates declined.

The bottom line is other factors (like a stronger economy) have a bigger impact on house prices than changes in mortgage rates.

Philly Fed: State Coincident Indexes increased in 33 States in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/26/2013 01:59:00 PM

From the Philly Fed:

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has released the coincident indexes for the 50 states for May 2013. In the past month, the indexes increased in 33 states, decreased in eight states, and remained stable in nine, for a one-month diffusion index of 50. Over the past three months, the indexes increased in 43 states, decreased in five, and remained stable in two, for a three-month diffusion index of 76.
Note: These are coincident indexes constructed from state employment data. From the Philly Fed:
The coincident indexes combine four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions in a single statistic. The four state-level variables in each coincident index are nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements deflated by the consumer price index (U.S. city average). The trend for each state’s index is set to the trend of its gross domestic product (GDP), so long-term growth in the state’s index matches long-term growth in its GDP.
Philly Fed Number of States with Increasing ActivityClick on graph for larger image.

This is a graph is of the number of states with one month increasing activity according to the Philly Fed. This graph includes states with minor increases (the Philly Fed lists as unchanged).

In May, 37 states had increasing activity, down from 44 in April (including minor increases). This measure has been and up down over the last few years since the recovery has been sluggish.

Philly Fed State Conincident Map Here is a map of the three month change in the Philly Fed state coincident indicators. This map was all red during the worst of the recession.

The map is mostly green again and suggests that the recovery is geographically widespread.

Vehicle Sales in June forecast to be at highest level since 2007

by Calculated Risk on 6/26/2013 11:46:00 AM

Note: The automakers will report June vehicle sales on Tuesday, July 2nd (next Tuesday). Here are a couple of forecasts:

From Reuters: June auto sales on pace for best showing since December '07: study

June auto sales are on track for their best month since before the 2008-2009 sales plunge ... J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said June sales will show a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 15.7 million vehicles sold, up 7.6 percent from a year ago and the best showing since December 2007.
From TrueCar: June 2013 New Car Sales Expected to Be Up Nearly Eight Percent According to TrueCar; June 2013 SAAR at 15.7M, Highest June SAAR Since 2007
For June 2013, new light vehicle sales in the U.S. (including fleet) is expected to be 1,380,543 units, up 7.8 percent from June 2012 ... The June 2013 forecast translates into a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate ("SAAR") of 15.7 million new car sales, up from 15.3 million in May 2013 and up from 14.4 million in June 2012.
Two key points: 1) sales growth will slow in 2013, and 2) it appears auto sales were solid in June.

Based on the first five months of 2013, it appears auto sales will increase again this year, but not double digit growth like the last few years.  This suggests auto sales will contribute less to GDP growth this year than in the previous three years.

Light Vehicle Sales
Sales (millions)Annual Change
1Sales rate for first five months of 2013.

Q1 GDP Revised down to 1.8% Annualized Real Growth Rate

by Calculated Risk on 6/26/2013 08:45:00 AM

GDP was revised down from a 2.4% annualized real growth rate to 1.8% in Q1. From the BEA:

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013 (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The downward revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected downward revisions to personal consumption expenditures, to exports, and to nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to imports.
Personal consumption expenditure growth was revised down from a 3.4% annualized rate in the 2nd estimate to 2.6% in the 3rd estimate of GDP.

FOMC Projection GDP Tracking Click on graph for larger image.

Last week I posted Four Charts to Track Timing for QE3 Tapering . Here is an update to the GDP chart.

The current FOMC forecast is for GDP to increase between 2.3% and 2.6% from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013.

The first quarter was below the FOMC projections (red), and it appears the second quarter will also be below the FOMC forecast - if so, then GDP will have to pickup in the 2nd half of 2013 for the Fed to start tapering QE3 purchases in December.

MBA: Mortgage Refinance Applications Decline as Mortgage Rates Increase

by Calculated Risk on 6/26/2013 07:59:00 AM

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week to the lowest level since November 2011. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent from one week earlier.
“Interest rates moved up sharply following the Federal Reserve press conference last Wednesday where it was indicated that the Fed could begin tapering their asset purchases later this year,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “Mortgage rates increased by the most in a single week since 2011, and refinance application volume dropped to its lowest level in almost two years. However, applications for conventional purchase loans picked up by more than 3 percent over the week, and total purchase applications were 16 percent higher than one year ago, indicating that homebuyers are not yet dissuaded by the increase in mortgage rates. Government purchase applications dropped again, likely a function of the recent increase in FHA mortgage insurance premiums.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) increased to 4.46 percent, the highest rate since August 2011, from 4.17 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from 0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
emphasis added
Mortgage Refinance Index Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the refinance index.

With 30 year mortgage rates near 4.5%, refinance activity has fallen sharply, decreasing in 6 of the last 7 weeks.

This index is down 42% over the last seven weeks.

Mortgage Purchase Index The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index.  The 4-week average of the purchase index has generally been trending up over the last year, and the 4-week average of the purchase index is up almost 10% from a year ago.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wednesday: Q1 GDP (3rd estimate), MBA Mortgage Purchase Index

by Calculated Risk on 6/25/2013 10:13:00 PM

Here is a minor indicator that I follow that is at a new record high, from ATA: ATA Truck Tonnage Index Surged 2.3% in May

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped 2.3% in May after falling 0.2% in April. ... In May, the SA index equaled 126.0 (2000=100) versus 123.2 in April. May 2013 is the highest level on record, surpassing the previous high in December 2011(124.3). Compared with May 2012, the SA index surged 6.7%, which is the largest year-over-year gain since December 2011.

“After bouncing around in a fairly tight band during the previous three months, tonnage skyrocketed in May,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. Some of the increase is attributable to factory output rising in May for the first time since February (+0.2%) and retail sales performing stronger than expected in May (+0.6%). Costello added, “The 6.8% surge in new housing starts during May obviously pushed tonnage up as home construction generates a significant amount of truck tonnage.”
emphasis added
ATA Trucking Click on graph for larger image.

Here is a long term graph that shows ATA's For-Hire Truck Tonnage index.

The dashed line is the current level of the index.

The index is fairly noisy, but the index is at a record high and is up solidly year-over-year.

• At 7:00 AM ET, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index. Expect a spike in mortgage rates, and a decline in refinance activity.

• At 8:30 AM, the third estimate of Q1 GDP will be released by the BEA. The consensus is that real GDP increased 2.4% annualized in Q1, unrevised from the 2nd estimate.

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

by Calculated Risk on 6/25/2013 03:32:00 PM

Case-Shiller, CoreLogic and others report nominal house prices, and it is also useful to look at house prices in real terms (adjusted for inflation) and as a price-to-rent ratio.

As an example, if a house price was $200,000 in January 2000, the price would be close to $275,000 today adjusted for inflation.  This is why economists also look at real house prices (inflation adjusted).

Note: If were I "wishcasting" as opposed to "forecasting", I'd like to see real house prices mostly move sideways for a few years.  But given the low level of inventory, pent up demand, significant investor buying, and some bounce off the bottom in certain areas - real prices have been increasing fairly rapidly over the last year.  I expect more inventory to come on the market and for price increases to slow.

Earlier: Case-Shiller: Case-Shiller: Comp 20 House Prices increased 12.1% year-over-year in April

Nominal House Prices

Nominal House PricesThe first graph shows the quarterly Case-Shiller National Index SA (through Q1 2013), and the monthly Case-Shiller Composite 20 SA and CoreLogic House Price Indexes (through March) in nominal terms as reported.

In nominal terms, the Case-Shiller National index (SA) is back to Q3 2003 levels (and also back up to Q4 2008), and the Case-Shiller Composite 20 Index (SA) is back to February 2004 levels, and the CoreLogic index (NSA) is back to April 2004.

Real House Prices

Real House PricesThe second graph shows the same three indexes in real terms (adjusted for inflation using CPI less Shelter). Note: some people use other inflation measures to adjust for real prices.

In real terms, the National index is back to Q2 2000 levels, the Composite 20 index is back to September 2001, and the CoreLogic index back to October 2001.

In real terms, house prices are back to early '00s levels.


In October 2004, Fed economist John Krainer and researcher Chishen Wei wrote a Fed letter on price to rent ratios: House Prices and Fundamental Value. Kainer and Wei presented a price-to-rent ratio using the OFHEO house price index and the Owners' Equivalent Rent (OER) from the BLS.

Price-to-Rent RatioHere is a similar graph using the Case-Shiller National, Composite 20 and CoreLogic House Price Indexes.

This graph shows the price to rent ratio (January 1998 = 1.0).

On a price-to-rent basis, the Case-Shiller National index is back to Q2 2000 levels, the Composite 20 index is back to February 2002 levels, and the CoreLogic index is back to April 2002.

In real terms - and as a price-to-rent ratio - prices are mostly back to early 2000 levels.

Nominal Prices: Cities relative to Jan 2000

Case-Shiller CitiesThe last graph shows the bubble peak, the post bubble minimum, and current nominal prices relative to January 2000 prices for all the Case-Shiller cities in nominal terms.

As an example, at the peak, prices in Phoenix were 127% above the January 2000 level. Then prices in Phoenix fell slightly below the January 2000 level, and are now up 34% above January 2000. Some cities - like Denver and Dallas - are at new highs.  Detroit prices are still below the January 2000 level.

A few comments on House Prices and New Home Sales

by Calculated Risk on 6/25/2013 12:10:00 PM

First on house prices, Zillow's chief economist Stan Humphries wrote this morning:

“Today’s Case-Shiller numbers may reflect where the housing market has been in some of the frothier metros, but they are not indicative of where it’s headed. The housing market worm has turned over the past few weeks – inventory levels are beginning to show signs of easing, and mortgage interest rates are creeping up. Going forward, both of these factors will help mitigate extreme price spikes caused by very strong housing demand and very low housing supply,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “Runaway appreciation in many of the large, coastal metros that form the backbone of the Case-Shiller indices will begin to moderate. Home value appreciation in some of these areas will have to slow down, or potentially fall, as higher bottom-line prices are no longer masked by rock-bottom mortgage rates. In general, the national housing recovery is strong and sustainable, but pockets of volatility will emerge as local fundamentals shift. Buyers expecting home values to continue rising at this pace indefinitely may be in for a shock.”
emphasis added
I agree with Humphries view on prices. I've been tracking inventory weekly, and it appears inventory levels are starting to increase (even after seasonal adjustment). Also I've heard reports from several real estate agents that the market has "slowed" (fewer multiple offer situations), even before mortgage rates increased.  I also think Humphries is correct that this will slow down price increases going forward.

However I don't think this will impact the ongoing recovery in residential investment (housing starts and new home sales).  The new home sales report this morning was solid with sales above expectations and significant upward revisions to prior months. The key points right now are that sales are increasing and will probably continue to increase for some time.

Now that we have five months of data for 2013, one way to look at the growth rate is to use the "not seasonally adjusted" (NSA) year-to-date data.   According to the Census Bureau, there were 202 thousand new homes sold in 2013 through May, up about 29% from the 156 thousand sold during the same period in 2012. That is a very solid increase in sales, and this was the highest sales for these months since 2008.

Note: For 2013, estimates are sales will increase to around 450 to 460 thousand, or an increase of around 22% to 25% on an annual basis from the 369 thousand in 2012. 

Although there has been a large increase in the sales rate, sales are just above the lows for previous recessions. This suggests significant upside over the next few years.  Based on estimates of household formation and demographics, I expect sales to increase to 750 to 800 thousand over the next several years - substantially higher than the current sales rate.

And an important point worth repeating every month: Housing is historically the best leading indicator for the economy, and this is one of the reasons I think The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.

And here is another update to the "distressing gap" graph that I first started posting over four years ago to show the emerging gap caused by distressed sales.  Now I'm looking for the gap to start to close over the next few years.

Distressing GapClick on graph for larger image.

The "distressing gap" graph shows existing home sales (left axis) and new home sales (right axis) through May 2013. This graph starts in 1994, but the relationship has been fairly steady back to the '60s.

Following the housing bubble and bust, the "distressing gap" appeared mostly because of distressed sales. The flood of distressed sales kept existing home sales elevated, and depressed new home sales since builders weren't able to compete with the low prices of all the foreclosed properties.

I don't expect much of an increase in existing home sales (distressed sales will slowly decline and be offset by more conventional sales). But I do expect this gap to continue to close - mostly from an increase in new home sales.

Distressing GapAnother way to look at this is a ratio of existing to new home sales.

This ratio was fairly stable from 1994 through 2006, and then the flood of distressed sales kept the number of existing home sales elevated and depressed new home sales. (Note: This ratio was fairly stable back to the early '70s, but I only have annual data for the earlier years).

In general the ratio has been trending down, and I expect this ratio to trend down over the next several years as the number of distressed sales declines and new home sales increase.

Note: Existing home sales are counted when transactions are closed, and new home sales are counted when contracts are signed. So the timing of sales is different.

New Home Sales at 476,000 SAAR in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/25/2013 10:00:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 476 thousand. This was up from 466 thousand SAAR in April (April sales were revised up from 454 thousand).

February sales were revised up from 429 thousand to 445 thousand, and March sales were revised up from 444 thousand to 451 thousand. Very strong upward revisions.

The first graph shows New Home Sales vs. recessions since 1963. The dashed line is the current sales rate.

"Sales of new single-family houses in May 2013 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 476,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 2.1 percent above the revised April rate of 466,000 and is 29.0 percent above the May 2012 estimate of 369,000."
New Home SalesClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

The second graph shows New Home Months of Supply.

The months of supply increased in May to 4.1 months from 4.0 months in April.

The all time record was 12.1 months of supply in January 2009.

New Home Sales, Months of Supply This is now in the normal range (less than 6 months supply is normal).
"The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 161,000. This represents a supply of 4.1 months at the current sales rate."
On inventory, according to the Census Bureau:
"A house is considered for sale when a permit to build has been issued in permit-issuing places or work has begun on the footings or foundation in nonpermit areas and a sales contract has not been signed nor a deposit accepted."
Starting in 1973 the Census Bureau broke this down into three categories: Not Started, Under Construction, and Completed.

New Home Sales, InventoryThis graph shows the three categories of inventory starting in 1973.

The inventory of completed homes for sale is at a record low. The combined total of completed and under construction is also just above the record low.

The last graph shows sales NSA (monthly sales, not seasonally adjusted annual rate).

In May 2013 (red column), 45 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). Last year 35 thousand homes were sold in May. The high for May was 120 thousand in 2005, and the low for May was 26 thousand in 2010.

New Home Sales, NSA

This was above expectations of 460,000 sales in May, and a very solid report, especially with all the upward revision to previous months.  I'll have more later today.

Case-Shiller: Comp 20 House Prices increased 12.1% year-over-year in April

by Calculated Risk on 6/25/2013 09:16:00 AM

S&P/Case-Shiller released the monthly Home Price Indices for April ("April" is a 3 month average of February, March and April prices).

This release includes prices for 20 individual cities, two composite indices (for 10 cities and 20 cities).

Note: Case-Shiller reports Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA), I use the SA data for the graphs.

From S&P: Home Prices Set Record Monthly Rise in April 2013 According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

Data through April 2013, released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices ... showed average home prices increased 11.6% and 12.1% for the 10- and 20-City Composites in the 12 months ending in April 2013. From March to April, the 10- and 20-City Composites rose 2.6% and 2.5%.

All 20 cities and both Composites showed positive year-over-year returns for at least the fourth consecutive month. Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Minneapolis posted their highest annual gains since the start of their respective indices. On a monthly basis, all cities with the exception of Detroit posted positive change.

“The 10- and 20-City Composites posted their highest monthly gains in the history of S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Thirteen cities posted monthly increases of over two percentage points, with San Francisco leading at 4.9%."

For the month of April, 19 of the 20 cities showed positive returns; Detroit was the only MSA to remain flat. Compared to March 2013, thirteen cities showed improvement with Minneapolis showing the largest change with a gain of 2.9% compared to its March return of -1.1%. California is seeing impressive returns all around with gains ranging from 3.4% to 4.9%. Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco posted their highest gains since 2004, 1988 and 1987, respectively. Looking at the east coast, Miami showed its largest return, 2.4%, in seven and a half years.
Case-Shiller House Prices Indices Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the nominal seasonally adjusted Composite 10 and Composite 20 indices (the Composite 20 was started in January 2000).

The Composite 10 index is off 25.6% from the peak, and up 1.7% in April (SA). The Composite 10 is up 12.8% from the post bubble low set in Jan 2012 (SA).

The Composite 20 index is off 24.8% from the peak, and up 1.7% (SA) in April. The Composite 20 is up 13.5% from the post-bubble low set in Jan 2012 (SA).

Case-Shiller House Prices Indices The second graph shows the Year over year change in both indices.

The Composite 10 SA is up 11.6% compared to April 2012.

The Composite 20 SA is up 12.1% compared to April 2012. This was the eleventh consecutive month with a year-over-year gain and this was the largest year-over-year gain for the Composite 20 index since 2006.

Prices increased (SA) in 20 of the 20 Case-Shiller cities in April seasonally adjusted. Prices in Las Vegas are off 52.6% from the peak, and prices in Denver and Dallas are at new highs.

This was above the consensus forecast for a 10.9% YoY increase. I'll have more on prices later.

LPS: Mortgage Delinquency Rate lowest since May 2008, Foreclosure inventories lowest since March 2009

by Calculated Risk on 6/25/2013 07:32:00 AM

According to the First Look report for May to be released today by Lender Processing Services (LPS), the percent of loans delinquent decreased in May compared to April, and declined about 12% year-over-year. Also the percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined further in May and were down almost 27% over the last year.

LPS reported the U.S. mortgage delinquency rate (loans 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure) decreased to 6.08% from 6.21% in April. Note: the normal rate for delinquencies is around 4.5% to 5%.

The percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined to 3.05% in May from 3.17% in April. 

The number of delinquent properties, but not in foreclosure, is down about 13% year-over-year (452,000 fewer properties delinquent), and the number of properties in the foreclosure process is down 27% or 585,000 properties year-over-year.

The percent (and number) of loans 90+ days delinquent and in the foreclosure process is still high, but declining fairly quickly.

LPS will release the complete mortgage monitor for May in early July.

LPS: Percent Loans Delinquent and in Foreclosure Process
May 2013Apr 2013May 2012
In Foreclosure3.05%3.17%4.12%
Number of properties:
Number of properties that are 30 or more, and less than 90 days past due, but not in foreclosure:1,708,0001,717,0001,924,000
Number of properties that are 90 or more days delinquent, but not in foreclosure:1,335,0001,394,0001,571,000
Number of properties in foreclosure pre-sale inventory:1,525,0001,588,0002,111,000
Total Properties4,569,0004,699,0005,605,000

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tuesday: New Home Sales, Case-Shiller House Prices, Durable Goods, Consumer Confidence and more

by Calculated Risk on 6/24/2013 09:26:00 PM

Plenty of data tomorrow ...

• Early: LPS "First Look" at May mortgage performance data. Expect further declines in delinquencies and foreclosures.

• At 8:30 AM ET, the Durable Goods Orders for May from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for a 3.3% increase in durable goods orders.

• At 9:00 AM, the S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for April. Although this is the April report, it is really a 3 month average of February, March and April. The consensus is for a 10.9% year-over-year increase in the Composite 20 index (NSA) for December. The Zillow forecast is for the Composite 20 to increase 12.1% year-over-year, and for prices to increase 1.7% month-to-month seasonally adjusted.

• Also at 9:00 AM, the FHFA House Price Index for April 2013. This was original a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index that deserves more attention. The consensus is for a 1.2% increase.

• At 10:00 AM, the New Home Sales report for May from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for an increase in sales to 460 thousand Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in May from 454 thousand in April.

• Also at 10:00 AM, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for June. The consensus is for the index to decrease to 75.0 from 76.2.

• Also at 10:00 AM, Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for June. The consensus is for a reading of 2 for this survey, up from minus 2 in May (above zero is expansion).

Existing Home Inventory is up 16.9% year-to-date on June 24th

by Calculated Risk on 6/24/2013 06:29:00 PM

Weekly Update: One of key questions for 2013 is Will Housing inventory bottom this year?. Since this is a very important question, I'm tracking inventory weekly in 2013. 

There is a clear seasonal pattern for inventory, with the low point for inventory in late December or early January, and then peaking in mid-to-late summer.

The Realtor (NAR) data is monthly and released with a lag (the most recent data was for May).  However Ben at Housing Tracker (Department of Numbers) has provided me some weekly inventory data for the last several years. This is displayed on the graph below as a percentage change from the first week of the year (to normalize the data).

In 2010 (blue), inventory increased more than the normal seasonal pattern, and finished the year up 7%. However in 2011 and 2012, there was only a small increase in inventory early in the year, followed by a sharp decline for the rest of the year.

Exsiting Home Sales Weekly dataClick on graph for larger image.

Note: the data is a little weird for early 2011 (spikes down briefly).

So far in 2013, inventory is up 16.9%, and I expect further increases over the next few months.

Inventory is well above the peak percentage increases for 2011 and 2012 and this suggests to me that inventory is near the bottom. It now seems likely - at least by this measure - that inventory bottomed early this year. 

It is important to remember that inventory is still very low, and is down 14.3% from the same week last year according to Housing Tracker.  Once inventory starts to increase (more than seasonal), I expect price increases to slow.

Market Update

by Calculated Risk on 6/24/2013 04:56:00 PM

S&P 500
Click on graph for larger image.

By request - following the recent sell-off - here are a couple of stock market graphs. The first graph shows the S&P 500 since 1990 (this excludes dividends).

The dashed line is the closing price today. The market is only up 10.3% year-to-date.

S&P 500The second graph (click on graph for larger image) is from Doug Short and shows the S&P 500 since the 2007 high ...

LPS: House Price Index increased 1.5% in April, Up 8.1% year-over-year

by Calculated Risk on 6/24/2013 12:30:00 PM

Notes: I follow several house price indexes (Case-Shiller, CoreLogic, LPS, Zillow, FHFA, FNC and more). The timing of different house prices indexes can be a little confusing. LPS uses April closings only (not a three month average like Case-Shiller or a weighted average like CoreLogic), excludes short sales and REOs, and is not seasonally adjusted.

From LPS: LPS' April HPI Report: Home Prices Up 1.5 Percent from March, 8.1 Percent Year-Over-Year

Lender Processing Services ... today released its latest LPS Home Price Index (HPI) report, based on April 2013 residential real estate transactions. The LPS HPI combines the company’s extensive property and loan-level databases to produce a repeat sales analysis of home prices as of their transaction dates every month for each of more than 15,500 U.S. ZIP codes. The LPS HPI represents the price of non-distressed sales by taking into account price discounts for REO and short sales.
The LPS HPI is off 18.2% from the peak in June 2006. Note: The press release has data for the 20 largest states, and 40 MSAs. LPS shows prices off 47.7% from the peak in Las Vegas, 39.6% off from the peak in Riverside-San Bernardino, CA (Inland Empire), and at a new peak in Austin, Dallas and Denver!  (Also, on the state level, new peaks for the Colorado and Texas).

Note: Case-Shiller for April will be released tomorrow.

Dallas Fed: Regional Manufacturing Activity "surges" in June

by Calculated Risk on 6/24/2013 10:30:00 AM

From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Surges and Outlook Improves

Texas factory activity increased sharply in June, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose six points to 17.1, posting its highest reading in more than two years.

Notably stronger manufacturing activity was reflected in other survey measures as well. The new orders index climbed to 13 in June, a level not seen since July 2011. The capacity utilization index rose to a two-year high, jumping from 6.4 to 15.3. The shipments index advanced 12 points to 15.4.

Perceptions of broader business conditions rebounded strongly in June. The general business activity index rose to 6.5 after posting negative readings in April and May. The company outlook index soared 20 points to 13.3, reaching its highest level in 16 months.

Labor market indicators reflected steady labor demand and longer workweeks. The employment index was zero in June, suggesting no change in employment levels. The hours worked index moved up to 4.8 after four months in negative territory.
emphasis added
This was above expectations of a reading of 0.0 for the general business activity index. This is the 3rd regional Fed report for June and all were above expectations and indicated expansion.

Chicago Fed: "Economic Activity slightly improved in May"

by Calculated Risk on 6/24/2013 08:38:00 AM

The Chicago Fed released the national activity index (a composite index of other indicators): Index shows economic activity slightly improved in May

Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) increased to –0.30 in May from –0.52 in April.

The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, decreased to –0.43 in May from –0.13 in April, marking its third consecutive reading below zero and its lowest level since October 2012. May’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was below its historical trend. The economic growth reflected in this level of the CFNAI-MA3 suggests subdued inflationary pressure from economic activity over the coming year.
emphasis added
This graph shows the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (three month moving average) since 1967.

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Click on graph for larger image.

This suggests economic activity was below the historical trend in May (using the three-month average).

According to the Chicago Fed:
What is the National Activity Index? The index is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data: 1) production and income; 2) employment, unemployment, and hours; 3) personal consumption and housing; and 4) sales, orders, and inventories.

A zero value for the index indicates that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth; negative values indicate below-average growth; and positive values indicate above-average growth.