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Thursday, March 28, 2024 Reports Active Inventory UP 25.5% YoY; New Listings up 14.9% YoY

by Calculated Risk on 3/28/2024 02:43:00 PM

What this means: On a weekly basis, reports the year-over-year change in active inventory and new listings. On a monthly basis, they report total inventory. For February, reported inventory was up 14.8% YoY, but still down almost 40% compared to February 2019. 

 Now - on a weekly basis - inventory is up 25.5% YoY. has monthly and weekly data on the existing home market. Here is their weekly report: Weekly Housing Trends View—Data Week Ending March 23, 2024
Active inventory increased, with for-sale homes 25.5% above year ago levels.

For an 20th 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 nearly 40% compared to what was typical in 2017 to 2019 and the gain in inventory, particularly in the more affordable under $350,000 price category, was primarily focused in the South last month. Nonetheless, in the first few weeks of March, inventory growth has also accelerated in the Midwest and West, while inventory in the Northeast remains similar to the previous year.

New listings–a measure of sellers putting homes up for sale–were up this week, by 14.9% from one year ago.

For the 22nd consecutive week, newly listed homes have surpassed levels from a year ago. While the annual growth rate was slower than the 17.8% recorded a week earlier, it remains among the fastest increase rates in new listings since June 2021. This indicates a surge in fresh options for buyers as we approach the spring homebuying season. However, it’s worth noting that the inventory base for this growth remains relatively small.
Realtor YoY Active ListingsHere is a graph of the year-over-year change in inventory according to

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

Inventory is still historically very low.

Although new listings remain below typical pre-pandemic levels, new listings are now up YoY for the 22nd consecutive week.

Final Look at Local Housing Markets in February

by Calculated Risk on 3/28/2024 11:35:00 AM

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: Final Look at Local Housing Markets in February

A brief excerpt:

Note: Most analysts were surprised by the increase in sales in February. Not housing economist Tom Lawler, or any readers of this newsletter. The local data clearly showed that sales - as reported by the NAR - would be up solidly in February. This is one of the reasons I track local markets. It is also useful to track inventory, both new and active.

After the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) releases the monthly existing home sales report, I pick up additional local market data that is reported after the NAR. This is the final look at local markets in February.

I’ve added a comparison of active listings, new listings, and closings to the same month in 2019 (for markets with available data). This gives us a sense of the current low level of sales and inventory, and also shows some significant regional differences.

The big stories for February were that existing home sales increased to 4.38 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR), and new listings were up YoY for the 5th consecutive month!
Closed Existing Home SalesAnd here is a table for new listings in February (some areas don’t report new listings). For these areas, new listings were up 21.8% year-over-year.

Last month, new listings in these markets were up 8.6% year-over-year.

New listings are now up solidly year-over-year, but still at historically low levels. New listings in most of these areas are down compared to January 2019 activity.
More local data coming in April for activity in March!
There is much more in the article.

NAR: Pending Home Sales Increase 1.6% in February; Down 7.0% Year-over-year

by Calculated Risk on 3/28/2024 10:00:00 AM

From the NAR: Pending Home Sales Rose 1.6% in February

Pending home sales in January grew 1.6%, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The Midwest and South posted monthly gains in transactions while the Northeast and West recorded losses. All four U.S. regions registered year-over-year decreases.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* – a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings – increased to 75.6 in February. Year over year, pending transactions were down 7.0%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
The Northeast PHSI decreased 0.3% from last month to 63.4, a decline of 9.0% from February 2023. The Midwest index soared 10.6% to 81.6 in February, down 2.5% from one year ago.

The South PHSI rose 1.1% to 89.5 in February, falling 8.5% from the prior year. The West index fell 6.5% in February to 57.1, down 7.9% from February 2023.
emphasis added
This was slightly above expectations. Note: Contract signings usually lead sales by about 45 to 60 days, so this would usually be for closed sales in March and April.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Decrease to 210,000

by Calculated Risk on 3/28/2024 08:35:00 AM

The DOL reported:

In the week ending March 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 210,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 210,000 to 212,000. The 4-week moving average was 211,000, a decrease of 750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 211,250 to 211,750.
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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 increased to 211,000.

The previous week was revised up.

Weekly claims were close to the consensus forecast.

Q4 GDP Growth Revised Up to 3.4% Annual Rate

by Calculated Risk on 3/28/2024 08:30:00 AM

From the BEA: Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter and Year 2023 (Third Estimate), GDP by Industry, and Corporate Profits

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 4.9 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the "second" estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.2 percent. The update primarily reflected upward revisions to consumer spending and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to private inventory investment.
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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Thursday: GDP, Unemployment Claims, Pending Home Sales

by Calculated Risk on 3/27/2024 07:41:00 PM

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

• At 8:30 AM ET, Gross Domestic Product, 4th Quarter and Year 2023 (Third Estimate), GDP by Industry, and Corporate Profits. The consensus is that real GDP increased 3.2% annualized in Q4, unchanged from the second estimate.

• Also at 8:30 AM, The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for 208 thousand initial claims, down from 210 thousand last week.

• At 9:45 AM, Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for March. The consensus is for a reading of 43.0, down from 44.0 in February.

• At 10:00 AM, Pending Home Sales Index for February. The consensus is for a 2.0% increase in the index.

• Also at 10:00 AM, University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index (Final for March). The consensus is for a reading of 76.5.

• At 11:00 AM, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing survey for March. This is the last of the regional surveys for March.

Fannie and Freddie: Single Family Serious Delinquency Rate Decreased, Multi-family Decreased in February

by Calculated Risk on 3/27/2024 04:59:00 PM

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: Fannie and Freddie: Single Family Serious Delinquency Rate Decreased, Multi-family Decreased in February

Brief excerpt:

Single-family serious delinquencies decreased in February, and multi-family serious delinquencies decreased after the huge surge in January.
Freddie Multi-Family Seriously Delinquent RateFreddie Mac reports that the multi-family delinquencies rate declined to 0.35% in February, and down from 0.44% in January.

This graph shows the Freddie multi-family serious delinquency rate since 2012. Rates were still high in 2012 following the housing bust and financial crisis.

The multi-family rate increased following the pandemic and has increased recently as rent growth has slowed, vacancy rates have increased, and borrowing rates have increased sharply. The rate surged higher in January but declined in February but is still at a high level. This will be something to watch as more apartments come on the market.
There is much more in the article.

Philly Fed: State Coincident Indexes Increased in 49 States in January (3-Month Basis)

by Calculated Risk on 3/27/2024 01:12:00 PM

From the Philly Fed:

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has released the coincident indexes for the 50 states for January 2024. Over the past three months, the indexes increased in 49 states and decreased in one state, for a three-month diffusion index of 96. Additionally, in the past month, the indexes increased in 39 states, decreased in seven states, and remained stable in four, for a one-month diffusion index of 64. For comparison purposes, the Philadelphia Fed has also developed a similar coincident index for the entire United States. The Philadelphia Fed’s U.S. index increased 0.6 percent over the past three months and 0.2 percent in January.
emphasis added
Note: These are coincident indexes constructed from state employment data. An explanation 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 by production workers, 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 State Conincident Map Click on map for larger image.

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 Pandemic and also at the worst of the Great Recession.

The map is almost all positive on a three-month basis.

Source: Philly Fed.

Philly Fed Number of States with Increasing ActivityAnd here 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 January, 41 states had increasing activity including minor increases.

Inflation Adjusted House Prices 2.4% Below Peak; Price-to-rent index is 7.5% below 2022 peak

by Calculated Risk on 3/27/2024 09:41:00 AM

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: Inflation Adjusted House Prices 2.4% Below Peak


It has been over 17 years since the bubble peak. In the January Case-Shiller house price index released yesterday, the seasonally adjusted National Index (SA), was reported as being 71% above the bubble peak in 2006. However, in real terms, the National index (SA) is about 10% above the bubble peak (and historically there has been an upward slope to real house prices).  The composite 20, in real terms, is 1% above the bubble peak.

People usually graph nominal house prices, but it is also important to look at prices in real terms.  As an example, if a house price was $300,000 in January 2010, the price would be $427,000 today adjusted for inflation (42% increase).  That is why the second graph below is important - this shows "real" prices.

The third graph shows the price-to-rent ratio, and the fourth graph is the affordability index. The last graph shows the 5-year real return based on the Case-Shiller National Index
Rea; House PricesThe second graph shows the same two indexes in real terms (adjusted for inflation using CPI).

In real terms (using CPI), the National index is 2.4% below the recent peak, and the Composite 20 index is 3.3% below the recent peak in 2022. Both indexes were mostly flat in January in real terms.

In real terms, national house prices are 10.2% above the bubble peak levels. There is an upward slope to real house prices, and it has been over 17 years since the previous peak, but real prices are historically high.
There is much more in the article.

MBA: Mortgage Applications Decreased in Weekly Survey

by Calculated Risk on 3/27/2024 07:00:00 AM

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

Mortgage applications decreased 0.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 22, 2024.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 0.4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week and was 9 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 0.2 percent compared with the previous week and was 16 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage application activity was muted last week despite slightly lower mortgage rates. The 30-year fixed rate edged lower to 6.93 percent, but that was not enough to stimulate borrower demand,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Purchase applications were essentially unchanged, as homebuyers continue to hold out for lower mortgage rates and for more listings to hit the market. Lower rates should help to free up additional inventory as the lock-in effect is reduced, but we expect that will only take place gradually, as we forecast that rates will move toward 6-percent by the end of the year. Similarly, with rates remaining elevated, there is very little incentive right now for rate/term refinances.”
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($766,550 or less) decreased to 6.93 percent from 6.97 percent, with points decreasing to 0.60 from 0.64 (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 16% 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 flatlined since then.