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Monday, April 15, 2024

Tuesday: Housing Starts, Industrial Production

by Calculated Risk on 4/15/2024 07:18:00 PM

Mortgage Rates From Matthew Graham at Mortgage News Daily: After Months of Relative Calm, Rates are Starting to Look Panicked Again

In 2023, there were multiple examples of mortgage rates moving up by roughly half a percent in a relatively short amount of time (1-3 weeks). Since the big shift in November, we've only seen one similar example and it was more of a technicality (a sharp drop in rates followed by a correction in early Feb), until today.
...
The culprit was economic data ... this data does not line up with the notion of Fed rate cuts in the near term. It also had an immediate negative impact on the rest of the bond market, including the bonds that most directly dictate mortgage rates.

The average lender is now back into the mid 7s for a top tier, conventional 30yr fixed scenario. [30 year fixed 7.44%]
emphasis added
Tuesday:
• At 8:30 AM ET, Housing Starts for March. The consensus is for 1.480 million SAAR, down from 1.521 million SAAR in February.

• At 9:15 AM, The Fed will release Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for March. The consensus is for a 0.4% increase in Industrial Production, and for Capacity Utilization to increase to 78.5%.

3rd Look at Local Housing Markets in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/15/2024 12:49:00 PM

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: 3rd Look at Local Housing Markets in March

A brief excerpt:

NOTE: The tables for active listings, new listings and closed sales all include a comparison to March 2019 for each local market (some 2019 data is not available).

This is the third look at several early reporting local markets in March. I’m tracking about 40 local housing markets in the US. Some of the 40 markets are states, and some are metropolitan areas. I’ll update these tables throughout the month as additional data is released.

Closed sales in March were mostly for contracts signed in January and February when 30-year mortgage rates averaged 6.44% and 6.78%, respectively. This is down from the 7%+ mortgage rates in the August through November period (although rates are now back in the 7%+ range again).
...
Closed Existing Home SalesAnd a table of March sales.

In March, sales in these markets were down 9.2% YoY. In February, these same markets were up 2.2% year-over-year Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).

Sales in most of these markets are down compared to January 2019.
...
Many more local markets to come!
There is much more in the article.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Unchanged in April

by Calculated Risk on 4/15/2024 10:00:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 51, unchanged from 51 last month. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

From the NAHB: Builder Sentiment Unchanged in April

Builder sentiment was flat in April as mortgage rates remained close to 7% over the past month and the latest inflation data failed to show improvement during the first quarter of 2024.

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes was 51 in April, unchanged from March, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This breaks a four-month period of gains for the index, which nonetheless remains above the key breakeven point of 50.

“With many frustrated buyers back on the fence waiting for interest rates to fall, policymakers can help ease affordability challenges by reducing inefficient regulatory rules that raise housing costs and limit supply,” said NAHB Chairman Carl Harris, a custom home builder from Wichita, Kan.

“April’s flat reading suggests potential for demand growth is there, but buyers are hesitating until they can better gauge where interest rates are headed,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “With the markets now adjusting to rates being somewhat higher due to recent inflation readings, we still anticipate the Federal Reserve will announce future rate cuts later this year, and that mortgage rates will moderate in the second half of 2024.”

The April HMI survey also revealed that 22% of builders cut home prices this month, down from 24% in March and 36% in December 2023. However, the average price reduction in April held steady at 6% for the 10th straight month. Meanwhile, the use of sales incentives ticked down to 57% in April from a reading of 60% in March.
...
The HMI index charting current sales conditions in April increased one point to 57 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers also edged one point higher to 35. The component measuring sales expectations in the next six months fell two points to 60.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast increased four points to 63, the Midwest gained five points to 46, the South rose one point to 51 and the West registered a four-point gain to 47.
emphasis added
NAHB HMI Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the NAHB index since Jan 1985.

This was at the consensus forecast.

Retail Sales Increased 0.7% in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/15/2024 08:37:00 AM

On a monthly basis, retail sales were up 0.7% from February to March (seasonally adjusted), and sales were up 4.0 percent from March 2023.

From the Census Bureau report:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March 2024, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $709.6 billion, up 0.7 percent from the previous month, and up 4.0 percent above March 2023. ... The January 2024 to February 2024 percent change was revised from up 0.6 percent to up 0.9 percent.
emphasis added
Retail Sales Click on graph for larger image.

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

Retail sales ex-gasoline were up 0.6% in March.

The second graph shows the year-over-year change in retail sales and food service (ex-gasoline) since 1993.

Retail and Food service sales, ex-gasoline, increased by 4.4% on a YoY basis.

Year-over-year change in Retail Sales The increase in sales in March was above expectations, and, sales in January and February were revised up.

Housing April 15th Weekly Update: Inventory up 2.6% Week-over-week, Up 29.6% Year-over-year

by Calculated Risk on 4/15/2024 08:01:00 AM

Altos reports that active single-family inventory was up 2.6% week-over-week. Inventory bottomed in mid-February this year, as opposed to mid-April in 2023, and inventory is now up 5.6% from the February bottom.

Altos Home Inventory Click on graph for larger image.

This inventory graph is courtesy of Altos Research.

As of April 12th, inventory was at 526 thousand (7-day average), compared to 513 thousand the prior week.   

Inventory is still far below pre-pandemic levels. 

The second graph shows the seasonal pattern for active single-family inventory since 2015.
Altos Year-over-year Home Inventory
The red line is for 2024.  The black line is for 2019.  Note that inventory is up almost double from the record low for the same week in 2022, but still well below normal levels.

Inventory was up 29.6% compared to the same week in 2023 (last week it was up 24.6%), and down 38.2% compared to the same week in 2019 (last week it was down 38.7%). 

Back in June 2023, inventory was down almost 54% compared to 2019, so the gap to more normal inventory levels is slowly closing.

Mike Simonsen discusses this data regularly on Youtube.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Monday: Retail Sales, NY Fed Mfg, Homebuilder Survey

by Calculated Risk on 4/14/2024 11:57:00 PM

Weekend:
Schedule for Week of April 14, 2024

Monday:
• At 8:30 AM ET, Retail sales for March is scheduled to be released.  The consensus is for a 0.3% increase in retail sales. 

• Also at 8:30 AM, The New York Fed Empire State manufacturing survey for April. The consensus is for a reading of -9.0, up from -20.9.

• At 10:00 AM, The April NAHB homebuilder survey. The consensus is for a reading of 51, unchanged from 51.  Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures S&P 500 are up 14 and DOW futures are up 78 (fair value).

Oil prices were up over the last week with WTI futures at $85.66 per barrel and Brent at $90.45 per barrel. A year ago, WTI was at $83, and Brent was at $87 - so WTI oil prices are up slightly year-over-year.

Here is a graph from Gasbuddy.com for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are at $3.61 per gallon. A year ago, prices were at $3.65 per gallon, so gasoline prices are down $0.04 year-over-year.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

By Request: Public and Private Sector Payroll Jobs During Presidential Terms

by Calculated Risk on 4/13/2024 09:25:00 PM

Note: I used to post this monthly, but I stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic. I've received a number of requests lately to post this again, so here is another update of tracking employment during Presidential terms.  We frequently use Presidential terms as time markers - we could use Speaker of the House, Fed Chair, or any other marker.

Important: There are many differences between these periods. Overall employment was smaller in the '80s, however the participation rate was increasing in the '80s (younger population and women joining the labor force), and the participation rate is generally declining now.  But these graphs give an overview of employment changes.

The first graph shows the change in private sector payroll jobs from when each president took office until the end of their term(s). Presidents Carter, George H.W. Bush and Trump only served one term.

Mr. G.W. Bush (red) took office following the bursting of the stock market bubble and left during the bursting of the housing bubble. Mr. Obama (dark blue) took office during the financial crisis and great recession. There was also a significant recession in the early '80s right after Mr. Reagan (dark red) took office.

There was a recession towards the end of President G.H.W. Bush (light purple) term, and Mr. Clinton (light blue) served for eight years without a recession.   And there was a pandemic related recession in 2020.

First, here is a table for private sector jobs. The previous top two private sector terms were both under President Clinton.  

TermPrivate Sector
Jobs Added (000s)
Biden13,7351
Clinton 110,876
Clinton 210,094
Obama 29,926
Reagan 29,351
Carter9,039
Reagan 15,363
Obama 11,907
GHW Bush1,507
GW Bush 2443
GW Bush 1-820
Trump-2,192
1After 38 months.

Private Sector Payrolls Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph is for private employment only.

Private sector employment increased by 9,039,000 under President Carter (dashed green), by 14,714,000 under President Reagan (dark red), 1,507,000 under President G.H.W. Bush (light purple), 20,970,000 under President Clinton (light blue), lost 377,000 under President G.W. Bush, and gained 11,833,000 under President Obama (dark dashed blue).  During Trump's term (Orange), the economy lost 2,135,000 private sector jobs.

In the first 38 months of President Biden's term (Blue), the economy has added 13,735,000 private sector jobs, as the economy recovered from the pandemic.

Public Sector Payrolls A big difference between the presidencies has been public sector employment.  Note: the bumps in public sector employment due to the decennial Census in 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2020. 

The public sector grew during Mr. Carter's term (up 1,304,000), during Mr. Reagan's terms (up 1,414,000), during Mr. G.H.W. Bush's term (up 1,127,000), during Mr. Clinton's terms (up 1,934,000), and during Mr. G.W. Bush's terms (up 1,744,000 jobs).  However, the public sector declined significantly while Mr. Obama was in office (down 263,000 jobs).  During Trump's term, the economy lost 528,000 public sector jobs.

In the first 38 months of President Biden's term, the economy has added 1,482,000 public sector jobs (about 93% of public job growth has been for state and local governments, and about 56% for education).

And a table for public sector jobs. Public sector jobs increased have increased the most during Biden's term, just ahead of the number during Reagan's 2nd term.  Public sector jobs declined the most during Obama's first term.

TermPublic Sector
Jobs Added (000s)
Biden1,4821
Reagan 21,438
Carter1,304
Clinton 21,242
GHW Bush1,127
GW Bush 1900
GW Bush 2844
Clinton 1692
Obama 2447
Reagan 1-24
Trump-528
Obama 1-710
1After 36 months.

Real Estate Newsletter Articles this Week: Current State of the Housing Market

by Calculated Risk on 4/13/2024 02:11:00 PM

At the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter this week:

Current State of the Housing Market; Overview for mid-April 2024

Part 2: Current State of the Housing Market; Overview for mid-April 2024

2nd Look at Local Housing Markets in March

An Update on the House Price Battle Royale: Low Inventory vs Affordability

1st Look at Local Housing Markets in March

This is usually published 4 to 6 times a week and provides more in-depth analysis of the housing market.

Schedule for Week of April 14, 2024

by Calculated Risk on 4/13/2024 08:11:00 AM

The key reports this week are March Retail Sales, Housing Starts and Existing Home Sales.

For manufacturing, the March Industrial Production report, and NY and Philly Fed surveys will be released this week.

----- Monday, April 15th -----

Year-over-year change in Retail Sales 8:30 AM: Retail sales for March is scheduled to be released.  The consensus is for a 0.3% increase in retail sales. 

This graph shows the year-over-year change in retail sales and food service (ex-gasoline) since 1993. Retail and Food service sales, ex-gasoline, increased by 2.0% on a YoY basis in February.

8:30 AM: The New York Fed Empire State manufacturing survey for April. The consensus is for a reading of -9.0, up from -20.9.

10:00 AM: The April NAHB homebuilder survey. The consensus is for a reading of 51, unchanged from 51.  Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

----- Tuesday, April 16th -----

Multi Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts8:30 AM ET: Housing Starts for March.

This graph shows single and multi-family housing starts since 1968.

The consensus is for 1.480 million SAAR, down from 1.521 million SAAR in February.

Industrial Production 9:15 AM: The Fed will release Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for March.

This graph shows industrial production since 1967.

The consensus is for a 0.4% increase in Industrial Production, and for Capacity Utilization to increase to 78.5%.

----- Wednesday, April 17th -----

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

2:00 PM: the Federal Reserve Beige Book, an informal review by the Federal Reserve Banks of current economic conditions in their Districts.

----- Thursday, April 18th -----

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for 217 thousand initial claims, up from 211 thousand last week.

8:30 AM: the Philly Fed manufacturing survey for April. The consensus is for a reading of 0.0, down from 3.2.

Existing Home Sales10:00 AM: Existing Home Sales for March from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The consensus is for 4.20 million SAAR, down from 4.38 million.

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

----- Friday, April 19th -----

10:00 AM: State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) for March 2024

Friday, April 12, 2024

April 12th COVID Update: Weekly Deaths Decreased

by Calculated Risk on 4/12/2024 07:22:00 PM

Mortgage RatesNote: Mortgage rates are from MortgageNewsDaily.com and are for top tier scenarios.

Due to changes at the CDC, weekly cases are no longer updated.

For deaths, I'm currently using 4 weeks ago for "now", since the most recent three weeks will be revised significantly.

Hospitalizations have declined significantly from the winter high of 30,027 but are still above the low of 5,386 last year.

COVID Metrics
 NowWeek
Ago
Goal
Hospitalized26,5767,510≤3,0001
Deaths per Week29611,030≤3501
1my goals to stop weekly posts,
2Weekly for Currently Hospitalized, and Deaths
🚩 Increasing number weekly for Hospitalized and Deaths
✅ Goal met.

COVID-19 Deaths per WeekClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the weekly (columns) number of deaths reported.

Weekly deaths have declined sharply from the recent peak of 2,553 but are still almost double the low of 490 last July.

And here is a graph I'm following concerning COVID in wastewater as of April 6th:

COVID-19 WastewaterThis appears to be a leading indicator for COVID hospitalizations and deaths.

Nationally, COVID in wastewater is now off close to 90% from the holiday peak at the end of December, and that suggests weekly hospitalizations and deaths will continue to decline.

Part 2: Current State of the Housing Market; Overview for mid-April 2024

by Calculated Risk on 4/12/2024 12:55:00 PM

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: Part 2: Current State of the Housing Market; Overview for mid-April 2024

A brief excerpt:

On Wednesday, in Part 1: Current State of the Housing Market; Overview for mid-April 2024 I reviewed home inventory, housing starts and sales.

In Part 2, I will look at house prices, mortgage rates, rents and more.
...
Other measures of house prices suggest prices will be up about the same YoY in the February Case-Shiller index. The NAR reported median prices were up 5.7% YoY in February, up from 4.9% YoY in January. ICE reported prices were up 5.7% YoY in February, down from 5.8% YoY in January, and Freddie Mac reported house prices were up 5.9% YoY in February, down from 6.2% YoY in January.

Freddie Case-Shiller NAR House PricesThe FMHPI and the NAR median prices appear to be leading indicators for Case-Shiller. Based on recent monthly data, and the FMHPI, the YoY change in the Case-Shiller index will likely be about the same YoY in February as in January.

Price increases have slowed! Over the last 3 months, this FMHPI has only increased at a 1.7% annual rate.
There is much more in the article.

Q1 GDP Tracking: Around 2%

by Calculated Risk on 4/12/2024 11:04:00 AM

From BofA:

Since our update last week, 1Q GDP tracking is down one-tenth to 1.9% q/q saar. [Apr 12th estimate]
emphasis added
From Goldman:
We left our Q1 GDP tracking estimate unchanged at +2.5% (qoq ar) and our Q1 domestic final sales forecast unchanged at +2.6% (qoq ar). [Apr 10th estimate]
And from the Altanta Fed: GDPNow
The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2024 is 2.4 percent on April 10, down from 2.5 percent on April 4. [April 10th estimate]

Hotels: Occupancy Rate Increased 4.7% Year-over-year

by Calculated Risk on 4/12/2024 08:11:00 AM

U.S. hotel performance showed mixed results from the previous week but positive comparisons year over year, according to CoStar’s latest data through 6 April. ...

31 March through 6 April 2024 (percentage change from comparable week in 2023):

Occupancy: 64.1% (+4.7%)
• Average daily rate (ADR): US$156.96 (+2.1%)
• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$100.59 (+6.9%)
emphasis added
The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four-week average.

Hotel Occupancy RateClick on graph for larger image.

The red line is for 2024, black is 2020, blue is the median, and dashed light blue is for 2023.  Dashed purple is for 2018, the record year for hotel occupancy. 

The 4-week average of the occupancy rate is tracking last year, and also at the median rate for the period 2000 through 2023 (Blue).

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

The 4-week average of the occupancy rate will move mostly sideways seasonally until the summer travel season.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Realtor.com Reports Active Inventory UP 30.4% YoY; New Listings Up 30.1% YoY

by Calculated Risk on 4/11/2024 02:11:00 PM

What this means: On a weekly basis, Realtor.com reports the year-over-year change in active inventory and new listings. On a monthly basis, they report total inventory. For March, Realtor.com reported inventory was up 23.5% YoY, but still down almost 38% compared to March 2017 to 2019 levels. 


 Now - on a weekly basis - inventory is up 30.4% YoY.

Realtor.com has monthly and weekly data on the existing home market. Here is their weekly report: Weekly Housing Trends View—Data Week Ending April 6, 2024
Active inventory increased, with for-sale homes 30.4% above year ago levels.

For an 22nd straight week, active listings registered above prior year level, which means that today’s home shoppers are able to consider more options for existing homes for sale. However, the number of homes on the market is still down 37.9% compared to what was typical in 2017 to 2019.

New listings–a measure of sellers putting homes up for sale–were up this week, by 30.1% from one year ago.

Listing activities rebounded significantly after a dip during the Easter holiday, reaching the highest growth rate after April 2021.However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that some of this increase can be attributed to the reduced number of listings during this same week last year, likely due to the impact of the Easter holiday.
Realtor YoY Active ListingsHere is a graph of the year-over-year change in inventory according to realtor.com

Inventory was up year-over-year for the 22nd consecutive week following 20 consecutive weeks with a YoY decrease in inventory.  

Inventory is still historically very low.

New listings remain below typical pre-pandemic levels although increasing. The YoY decline last week was related to the Easter holiday, and that was reversed this week.

2nd Look at Local Housing Markets in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/11/2024 10:44:00 AM

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: 2nd Look at Local Housing Markets in March

A brief excerpt:

NOTE: The tables for active listings, new listings and closed sales all include a comparison to March 2019 for each local market (some 2019 data is not available).

This is the second look at several early reporting local markets in March. I’m tracking about 40 local housing markets in the US. Some of the 40 markets are states, and some are metropolitan areas. I’ll update these tables throughout the month as additional data is released.

Closed sales in March were mostly for contracts signed in January and February when 30-year mortgage rates averaged 6.44% and 6.78%, respectively. This is down from the 7%+ mortgage rates in the August through November period (although rates are now back in the 7%+ range again).
...
Closed Existing Home SalesAnd a table of March sales.

In March, sales in these markets were down 9.6% YoY. In February, these same markets were up 3.1% year-over-year Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).

Sales in most of these markets are down compared to January 2019.
...
Many more local markets to come!
There is much more in the article.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Decrease to 211,000

by Calculated Risk on 4/11/2024 08:30:00 AM

The DOL reported:

In the week ending April 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 211,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 221,000 to 222,000. The 4-week moving average was 214,250, a decrease of 250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 214,250 to 214,500.
emphasis added
The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since 1971.

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 decreased to 214,250.

The previous week was revised up.

Weekly claims were lower than the consensus forecast.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Thursday: Unemployment Claims, PPI

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2024 07:15:00 PM

Mortgage Rates Note: Mortgage rates are from MortgageNewsDaily.com and are for top tier scenarios.

Thursday:
• At 8:30 AM ET, The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for 225 thousand initial claims, up from 221 thousand last week.

• Also at 8:30 AM, The Producer Price Index for March from the BLS. The consensus is for a 0.2% increase in PPI, and a 0.3% increase in core PPI.

Part 1: Current State of the Housing Market; Overview for mid-April 2024

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2024 02:09:00 PM

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: Part 1: Current State of the Housing Market; Overview for mid-April 2024

A brief excerpt:

This 2-part overview for mid-April provides a snapshot of the current housing market.

I always like to start with inventory, since inventory usually tells the tale!
...
Here is a graph of new listing from Realtor.com’s March 2024 Monthly Housing Market Trends Report showing new listings were 15.5% year-over-year in March. This is still well below pre-pandemic levels. From Realtor.com:

New Listings
However, providing a boost to overall inventory, sellers turned out in higher numbers this March as newly listed homes were 15.5% above last year’s levels. This marked the fifth month of increasing listing activity after a 17-month streak of decline. 
Note the seasonality for new listings. December and January are seasonally the weakest months of the year for new listings, followed by February and November. New listings will be up year-over-year in 2024, but still below normal levels.

There are always people that need to sell due to the so-called 3 D’s: Death, Divorce, and Disease. Also, in certain times, some homeowners will need to sell due to unemployment or excessive debt (neither is much of an issue right now).

And there are homeowners who want to sell for a number of reasons: upsizing (more babies), downsizing, moving for a new job, or moving to a nicer home or location (move-up buyers). It is some of the “want to sell” group that has been locked in with the golden handcuffs over the last couple of years, since it is financially difficult to move when your current mortgage rate is around 3%, and your new mortgage rate will be in the 6 1/2% to 7 1/2% range.

But time is a factor for this “want to sell” group, and eventually some of them will take the plunge. That is probably why we are seeing more new listings now.
There is much more in the article.

FOMC Minutes: Uncertainty about inflation; Need greater confidence

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2024 02:00:00 PM

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, March 19–20, 2024. Excerpt:

In their discussion of inflation, participants observed that significant progress had been made over the past year toward the Committee's 2 percent inflation objective even though the two most recent monthly readings on core and headline inflation had been firmer than expected. Some participants noted that the recent increases in inflation had been relatively broad based and therefore should not be discounted as merely statistical aberrations. However, a few participants noted that residual seasonality could have affected the inflation readings at the start of the year. Participants generally commented that they remained highly attentive to inflation risks but that they had also anticipated that there would be some unevenness in monthly inflation readings as inflation returned to target.

In their outlook for inflation, participants noted that they continued to expect that inflation would return to 2 percent over the medium term. They remained concerned that elevated inflation continued to harm households, especially those least able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing, and transportation. A few participants remarked that they expected core nonhousing services inflation to decline as the labor market continued to move into better balance and wage growth moderated further. Participants discussed the still-elevated rate of housing services inflation and commented on the uncertainty regarding when and by how much lower readings for rent growth on new leases would pass through to this category of inflation. Several participants noted that the disinflationary pressure for core goods that had resulted from the receding of supply chain bottlenecks was likely to moderate. Other factors related to aggregate supply, such as increases in the labor force or better productivity growth, were viewed by several participants as likely to support continued disinflation. Some participants reported that business contacts had indicated that they were less able to pass on price increases or that consumers were becoming more sensitive to price changes. Some participants observed that longer-term inflation expectations appeared to remain well anchored, as reflected in a broad range of surveys of households, businesses, and forecasters, as well as measures from financial markets.
...
Participants noted indicators pointing to strong economic momentum and disappointing readings on inflation in recent months and commented that they did not expect it would be appropriate to reduce the target range for the federal funds rate until they had gained greater confidence that inflation was moving sustainably toward 2 percent.
emphasis added

Cleveland Fed: Median CPI increased 0.4% and Trimmed-mean CPI increased 0.3% in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2024 11:35:00 AM

The Cleveland Fed released the median CPI and the trimmed-mean CPI.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% in March. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index increased 0.3%. "The median CPI and 16% trimmed-mean CPI are measures of core inflation calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland based on data released in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly CPI report".

Inflation Measures Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the year-over-year change for these four key measures of inflation. 

On a year-over-year basis, the median CPI rose 4.6% (unchanged from 4.6% in February), the trimmed-mean CPI rose 3.6% (up from 3.5%), and the CPI less food and energy rose 3.8% (unchanged from 3.8%). 

Core PCE is for February was up 2.8% YoY, down from 2.9% in January.

Note: The Cleveland Fed released the median CPI details. Rent and Owner's equivalent rent are still very high, and if we exclude rent, median CPI would be around 1.95% year-over-year. 

YoY Measures of Inflation: Services, Goods and Shelter

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2024 08:54:00 AM

Here are a few measures of inflation:

The first graph is the one Fed Chair Powell had mentioned when services less rent of shelter was up around 8% year-over-year.  This declined, but has turned up recently, and is now up 4.8% YoY.

Services ex-ShelterClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the YoY price change for Services and Services less rent of shelter through March 2024.


Services were up 5.3% YoY as of March 2024, unchanged from 5.0% YoY in February.

Services less rent of shelter was up 4.8% YoY in March, up from 3.9% YoY in February.

Goods CPIThe second graph shows that goods prices started to increase year-over-year (YoY) in 2020 and accelerated in 2021 due to both strong demand and supply chain disruptions.

Durables were at -2.1% YoY as of March 2024, down from -1.6% YoY in February.

Commodities less food and energy commodities were at -0.7% YoY in March, down from -0.3% YoY in February.

ShelterHere is a graph of the year-over-year change in shelter from the CPI report (through March) and housing from the PCE report (through February)

Shelter was up 5.6% year-over-year in March, down from 5.8% in February. Housing (PCE) was up 5.8% YoY in February, down from 6.1% in January.

This is still catching up with private data.  The BLS noted this morning: "The index for shelter rose in March, as did the index for gasoline. Combined, these two indexes contributed over half of the monthly increase in the index for all items."

Core CPI ex-shelter was up 2.4% YoY in March, up from 2.2% in February.

BLS: CPI Increased 0.4% in March; Core CPI increased 0.4%

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2024 08:30:00 AM

From the BLS:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the same increase as in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The index for shelter rose in March, as did the index for gasoline. Combined, these two indexes contributed over half of the monthly increase in the index for all items. The energy index rose 1.1 percent over the month. The food index rose 0.1 percent in March. The food at home index was unchanged, while the food away from home index rose 0.3 percent over the month.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent in March, as it did in each of the 2 preceding months. Indexes which increased in March include shelter, motor vehicle insurance, medical care, apparel, and personal care. The indexes for used cars and trucks, recreation, and new vehicles were among those that decreased over the month.

The all items index rose 3.5 percent for the 12 months ending March, a larger increase than the 3.2-percent increase for the 12 months ending February. The all items less food and energy index rose 3.8 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index increased 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending March, the first 12-month increase in that index since the period ending February 2023. The food index increased 2.2 percent over the last year.
emphasis added
The change in both CPI and core CPI were above expectations. I'll post a graph later today after the Cleveland Fed releases the median and trimmed-mean CPI.

MBA: Mortgage Applications Increased in Weekly Survey

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2024 07:00:00 AM

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

Mortgage applications increased 0.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 5, 2024.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 0.2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 10 percent from the previous week and was 4 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent compared with the previous week and was 23 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates moved higher last week as several Federal Reserve officials reiterated a patient posture on rate cuts. Inflation remains stubbornly above the Fed’s target, and the broader economy continues to show resiliency. Unexpectedly strong employment data released last week further added to the upward pressure on rates,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “The 30-year fixed rate increased to 7.01 percent, the highest in over a month. Purchase applications were down almost five percent to the lowest level since the end of February, but refinance applications were up 10 percent, driven particularly by VA refinance applications.”
...
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($766,550 or less) increased to 7.01 percent from 6.91 percent, with points remaining at 0.59 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
emphasis added
Mortgage Purchase IndexClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index.

According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 23% year-over-year unadjusted.  

Red is a four-week average (blue is weekly).  

Purchase application activity is up slightly from the lows in late October 2023, and below the lowest levels during the housing bust.  

Mortgage Refinance Index
The second graph shows the refinance index since 1990.

With higher mortgage rates, the refinance index declined sharply in 2022, and has mostly flat lined since then.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Wednesday: CPI, FOMC Minutes

by Calculated Risk on 4/09/2024 07:43:00 PM

Mortgage Rates Note: Mortgage rates are from MortgageNewsDaily.com and are for top tier scenarios.

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

• At 8:30 AM, The Consumer Price Index for March from the BLS. The consensus is for 0.4% increase in CPI (up 3.5% YoY) and a 0.3% increase in core CPI (up 3.7% YoY).

• At 2:00 PM, FOMC Minutes, Meeting of March 19-20<

CPI Preview

by Calculated Risk on 4/09/2024 03:50:00 PM

Currently CPI is a significant market mover, especially for mortgage rates. Here are two previews on the report tomorrow.

From BofA:

After two firm reports to start the year, core CPI inflation should cool off in March. We expect core CPI inflation to round down to 0.2% m/m (0.24% unrounded) owing to a slight decline in core goods prices and less price pressure from core services. Meanwhile, headline CPI should round up to 0.3% m/m (0.25% unrounded). If our forecast proves correct, it should provide some confidence to the Fed.
From Goldman:
We expect a 0.27% increase in March core CPI (vs. 0.3% consensus), corresponding to a year-over-year rate of 3.70% (vs. 3.7% consensus). We expect a 0.29% increase in March headline CPI (vs. 0.3% consensus), which corresponds to a year-over-year rate of 3.37% (vs. 3.4% consensus).

An Update on the House Price Battle Royale: Low Inventory vs Affordability

by Calculated Risk on 4/09/2024 11:16:00 AM

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: An Update on the House Price Battle Royale: Low Inventory vs Affordability

A brief excerpt:

Almost a year ago I wrote: House Price Battle Royale: Low Inventory vs Affordability. Here is an update as the battle continues!

I’ve been wrestling with the impact on house prices of the rapid increase in mortgage rates and monthly payments over the last two years. My reaction was the current situation was somewhat similar to the 1978 to 1982 period and we would likely see prices decline in real terms (adjusted for inflation). See from March 2022: Housing: Don't Compare the Current Housing Boom to the Bubble and Bust.

In that article I wrote on prices:
[W]e should expect something similar to the what happened in the late ‘70s - a decline in real house prices seems likely … Currently we just have to watch and wait. However, we can be fairly confident that we won’t see cascading nominal price declines like during the housing bust - since there will be few distressed sales.
In the 1980 period, nominal prices only declined slightly on a month-to-month basis a few times according to the Case-Shiller National house price index. However, real prices - adjusted for inflation - declined 10.7% from the peak. The inflation adjusted peak was in October 1979, and real prices didn’t exceed that peak until May 1986 (See from October 2022: House Prices: 7 Years in Purgatory).
There is much more in the article.

Moody's: Retail Vacancy Rate Unchanged in Q1

by Calculated Risk on 4/09/2024 08:31:00 AM

Note: I covered apartments and offices in the newsletter: Moody's: Apartment Vacancy Rate Unchanged in Q1; Office Vacancy Rate at Record High

From Moody’s Analytics economists: Apartment and Retail in Holding Pattern, Office Evolution and Stress Continued, And Industrial Fundamentals Leveled Off

Q1 2024 data revealed trends similar to those observed in 2023, with retail vacancy rate remaining stable at 10.3%. Asking rents rose slightly by 0.2% to $21.69 per sqft, while effective rents also enjoyed 0.2% increase to $18.98 per sqft. During the holiday season, consumer activity was robust but as expected, decelerated in January as retailers reduced their expenditures at the start of the year. However, February marked a resurgence in consumer spending, with retail sales climbing by 0.6%. It is anticipated that overall retail sales in 2024 will mirror those of 2023, albeit with a larger share attributed to non-store and online transactions. The quarter also saw the addition of 198,000 square feet in new retail construction. Despite this growth, the retail sector continues to confront familiar financing obstacles due to persistent high interest rates, suggesting little change in this trend for the remainder of the year. Although bankruptcy announcements have been prevalent, the vacancy rate has remained steady. This stability is partly due to new, smaller store openings by entities that normally wouldn’t fill this space, such as Macy's and Toys R Us.
Retail Vacancy RateThis graph shows the strip mall vacancy rate starting in 1980 (prior to 2000 the data is annual). 

Back in the '80s, there was overbuilding in the mall sector even as the vacancy rate was rising. This was due to the very loose commercial lending that led to the S&L crisis.

In the mid-'00s, mall investment picked up as mall builders followed the "roof tops" of the residential boom (more loose lending). This led to the vacancy rate moving higher even before the recession started. Then there was a sharp increase in the vacancy rate during the recession and financial crisis.

Recently the vacancy rate has held steady at a high level as online shopping continues to impact brick and mortar stores.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Tuesday: Small Business Survey

by Calculated Risk on 4/08/2024 07:08:00 PM

Mortgage Rates From Matthew Graham at Mortgage News Daily: Mortgage Rates Near Highest Levels Since February

Mortgage rates moved up somewhat abruptly today as the bond market lost more ground over the weekend ... there weren't any compelling news headlines or economic reports driving the weakness. It would be better thought of as a hangover from Friday's jobs report.

As the week progresses, there will certainly be at least one major economic report with a proven track record of causing big reactions in rates: the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on Wednesday morning. With the average lender already near the highest levels since February, a bad reaction to CPI could easily launch rates back to levels not seen since November. On the other hand, if CPI manages to come in much lower than expected, rates would almost certainly drop. [30 year fixed 7.11%]
emphasis added
Tuesday:
• At 6:00 AM ET, NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for March.

Hotels: Occupancy Rate Decreased 5.6% Year-over-year Due to Easter Holiday

by Calculated Risk on 4/08/2024 02:59:00 PM

As expected ahead of the Easter holiday, U.S. hotel performance decreased from the previous week, according to CoStar’s latest data through 30 March.

24-30 March 2024 (percentage change from comparable week in 2023):

Occupancy: 62.3% (-5.6%)
• Average daily rate (ADR): US$157.14 (-0.7%
• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$97.83 (-6.3%)
emphasis added
The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four-week average.

Hotel Occupancy RateClick on graph for larger image.

The red line is for 2024, black is 2020, blue is the median, and dashed light blue is for 2023.  Dashed purple is for 2018, the record year for hotel occupancy. 

The 4-week average of the occupancy rate is tracking slightly below last year, and below the median rate for the period 2000 through 2023 (Blue).

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

The 4-week average of the occupancy rate will move mostly sideways seasonally until the summer travel season.

1st Look at Local Housing Markets in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/08/2024 01:04:00 PM

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: 1st Look at Local Housing Markets in March

A brief excerpt:

NOTE: The tables for active listings, new listings and closed sales all include a comparison to March 2019 for each local market (some 2019 data is not available).

This is the first look at several early reporting local markets in March. I’m tracking about 40 local housing markets in the US. Some of the 40 markets are states, and some are metropolitan areas. I’ll update these tables throughout the month as additional data is released.

Closed sales in March were mostly for contracts signed in January and February when 30-year mortgage rates averaged 6.44% and 6.78%, respectively. This is down from the 7%+ mortgage rates in the August through November period (although rates are now back in the 7% range again).
...
Closed Existing Home SalesIn March, sales in these markets were down 8.9% YoY. In February, these same markets were up 2.3% year-over-year Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).

Sales in all of these markets are down compared to January 2019.
...
This is a year-over-year decrease NSA for these early reporting markets. However, there were two fewer working days in March 2024 compared to March 2023, so sales Seasonally Adjusted will be higher year-over-year than Not Seasonally Adjusted sales.
...
This was just a few early reporting markets. Many more local markets to come!
There is much more in the article.

Leading Index for Commercial Real Estate Decreased 9% in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/08/2024 11:01:00 AM

From Dodge Data Analytics: Dodge Momentum Index Fell 9% in March

The Dodge Momentum Index (DMI), issued by Dodge Construction Network, fell 8.6% in March to 164.0 (2000=100) from the revised February reading of 179.5. Over the month, commercial planning fell 3.2% and institutional planning dropped 17.2%.

“In 2023, commercial planning decreased while institutional planning notably improved, sitting 29% above year-ago levels in February 2024. While strong market fundamentals should support institutional planning this year, this side of the Index is more at risk for a substantive correction after last year’s growth,” stated Sarah Martin, associate director of forecasting for Dodge Construction Network. “Much of the decline on the institutional side is credited to lower levels of education planning. Between February 2023 and February 2024, life science and R&D laboratory projects account for roughly 34% of education planning value, with that share reaching 59% in some months. In March, however, that share dropped to 7%. The surge of lab construction in recent years may lead to decreased planning demand as the market absorbs new supply in 2024. Likely, lower lab volumes will result in education planning returning to its long-run, and more sustainable, average.”
...
The DMI is a monthly measure of the value of nonresidential building projects going into planning, shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.
emphasis added
Dodge Momentum Index Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the Dodge Momentum Index since 2002. The index was at 164.0 in March, down from 179.5 the previous month.

According to Dodge, this index leads "construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year".  This index suggests a slowdown in 2024.  

Commercial construction is typically a lagging economic indicator.

Housing April 8th Weekly Update: Inventory down 0.9% Week-over-week due to Easter Holiday, Up 24.6% Year-over-year

by Calculated Risk on 4/08/2024 08:12:00 AM

Altos reports that active single-family inventory was down 0.9% week-over-week. Inventory bottomed in mid-February this year, as opposed to mid-April in 2023, and inventory is now up 3.8% from the February bottom.

Note: the decline this week was due to the Easter holiday, and seasonally, inventory usually increases following Easter.

Altos Home Inventory Click on graph for larger image.

This inventory graph is courtesy of Altos Research.

As of April 5th, inventory was at 513 thousand (7-day average), compared to 517 thousand the prior week.   

Inventory is still far below pre-pandemic levels. 

The second graph shows the seasonal pattern for active single-family inventory since 2015.
Altos Year-over-year Home Inventory
The red line is for 2024.  The black line is for 2019.  Note that inventory is up almost double from the record low for the same week in 2022, but still well below normal levels.

Inventory was up 24.6% compared to the same week in 2023 (last week it was up 26.0%), and down 38.7% compared to the same week in 2019 (last week it was down 37.9%). 

Back in June 2023, inventory was down almost 54% compared to 2019, so the gap to more normal inventory levels is slowly closing.

Mike Simonsen discusses this data regularly on Youtube.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Sunday Night Futures

by Calculated Risk on 4/07/2024 06:11:00 PM

Weekend:
Schedule for Week of April 7, 2024

Monday:
• No major economic releases scheduled.

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures S&P 500 are up 14 and DOW futures are up 99 (fair value).

Oil prices were up over the last week with WTI futures at $86.91 per barrel and Brent at $91.17 per barrel. A year ago, WTI was at $80, and Brent was at $87 - so WTI oil prices are up about 8% year-over-year.

Here is a graph from Gasbuddy.com for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are at $3.58 per gallon. A year ago, prices were at $3.58 per gallon, so gasoline prices are unchanged year-over-year.

AAR: Rail Carloads Down YoY in March, Intermodal Up

by Calculated Risk on 4/07/2024 08:21:00 AM

From the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Rail Time Indicators. Graphs and excerpts reprinted with permission.

Total originated carloads on U.S. railroads fell 3.5% (31,101 carloads) in March 2024 from March 2023, their third straight monthly decline. Total carloads averaged 216,716 per week in March 2024, the fewest for any March in our records that begin in January 1988. In the first quarter of 2024, total carloads were down 4.2%, or 122,088 carloads, from the same period in 2023.

The problem is coal. ...

U.S. railroads also originated 1.02 million intermodal containers and trailers in March, up 11.7% (106,903 units) over March 2023 and their seventh consecutive year-over-year gain.
emphasis added
Rail Traffic Click on graph for larger image.

This graph from the Rail Time Indicators report shows the six-week average of U.S. Carloads in 2022, 2023 and 2024:
In March, total originated U.S. carloads fell 3.5% (31,101 carloads) from March 2023. They averaged 216,716 per week in March 2024, the fewest for any March in our records that begin in January 1988. Total carloads were down 4.2%, or 122,088 carloads, for the year to date.
Rail TrafficThe second graph shows the six-week average (not monthly) of U.S. intermodal in 2022, 2023 and 2024: (using intermodal or shipping containers):
U.S. railroads originated 1.02 million intermodal containers and trailers in March, up 11.7% (106,903 units) over March 2023. It’s their seventh straight year-over-year gain. ... U.S. intermodal volume in Q1 2024 was 3.27 million units, virtually the same as the average for the first quarters from 2014 to 2023 (3.28 million).

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Real Estate Newsletter Articles this Week: Office Vacancy Rate at Record High

by Calculated Risk on 4/06/2024 02:11:00 PM

At the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter this week:

Moody's: Apartment Vacancy Rate Unchanged in Q1; Office Vacancy Rate at Record High

Freddie Mac House Price Index Increased in February; Up 5.9% Year-over-year

ICE Mortgage Monitor: The Impact of "Golden-Handcuffs" on Mortgage Payments

Asking Rents Mostly Unchanged Year-over-year

Immigration and Household Formation

This is usually published 4 to 6 times a week and provides more in-depth analysis of the housing market.

Schedule for Week of April 7, 2024

by Calculated Risk on 4/06/2024 08:11:00 AM

The key economic report this week is March CPI.

----- Monday, April 8th -----

No major economic releases scheduled.

----- Tuesday, April 9th -----

6:00 AM ET: NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for March.

----- Wednesday, April 10th -----

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

8:30 AM: The Consumer Price Index for March from the BLS. The consensus is for 0.4% increase in CPI (up 3.5% YoY) and a 0.3% increase in core CPI (up 3.7% YoY).

2:00 PM: FOMC Minutes, Meeting of March 19-20

----- Thursday, April 11th -----

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for 225 thousand initial claims, up from 221 thousand last week.

8:30 AM: The Producer Price Index for March from the BLS. The consensus is for a 0.2% increase in PPI, and a 0.3% increase in core PPI.

----- Friday, April 12th -----

10:00 AM: University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index (Preliminary for April).

Friday, April 05, 2024

April 5th COVID Update: Weekly Deaths Decreased

by Calculated Risk on 4/05/2024 07:21:00 PM

Mortgage RatesNote: Mortgage rates are from MortgageNewsDaily.com and are for top tier scenarios.

Due to changes at the CDC, weekly cases are no longer updated.

For deaths, I'm currently using 4 weeks ago for "now", since the most recent three weeks will be revised significantly.

Hospitalizations have declined significantly from the winter high of 30,027 but are still above the low of 5,386 last year.

COVID Metrics
 NowWeek
Ago
Goal
Hospitalized27,4018,705≤3,0001
Deaths per Week21,0021,198≤3501
1my goals to stop weekly posts,
2Weekly for Currently Hospitalized, and Deaths
🚩 Increasing number weekly for Hospitalized and Deaths
✅ Goal met.

COVID-19 Deaths per WeekClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the weekly (columns) number of deaths reported.

Weekly deaths have declined sharply from the recent peak of 2,553 but are still more than double the low of 490 last July.

And here is a graph I'm following concerning COVID in wastewater as of March 30th:

COVID-19 WastewaterThis appears to be a leading indicator for COVID hospitalizations and deaths.

Nationally, COVID in wastewater is now off more than 85% from the holiday peak at the end of December, and that suggests weekly hospitalizations and deaths will continue to decline.

Q1 GDP Tracking: 2% to 2.5%

by Calculated Risk on 4/05/2024 03:10:00 PM

From BofA:

Since our update last week, 1Q GDP tracking is down two-tenths to 2.0% q/q saar. Also, 4Q GDP came in at 3.4% q/q saar in the third and final estimate, close to our 3.5% forecast. [Apr 5th estimate]
emphasis added
From Goldman:
The details of the trade balance report were somewhat firmer than our previous expectations, and we boosted our Q1 GDP tracking estimate by 0.2pp to +2.5%. [Apr 4th estimate]
And from the Altanta Fed: GDPNow
The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2024 is 2.5 percent on April 4, down from 2.8 percent on April 1. [April 4th estimate]

Wholesale Used Car Prices Declined in March; Down 14.7% Year-over-year

by Calculated Risk on 4/05/2024 11:59:00 AM

From Manheim Consulting today: Wholesale Used-Vehicle Prices Declined in March

Wholesale used-vehicle prices (on a mix, mileage, and seasonally adjusted basis) were down in March compared to February. The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index (MUVVI) fell to 203.1, a decline of 14.7% from a year ago. The decline in the index was driven by the seasonal adjustment, resulting in a 0.4% month-over-month decrease. The non-adjusted price in March increased by 3.1% compared to February, moving the unadjusted average price down 11.4% year over year.
emphasis added
Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index Click on graph for larger image.

This index from Manheim Consulting is based on all completed sales transactions at Manheim’s U.S. auctions.

The Manheim index suggests used car prices declined in March (seasonally adjusted) and were down 14.7% year-over-year (YoY).