The Case-Shiller National home price index “slowed” to 18.81% YoY in November as The Fed continues its monetary stimulypto. Notice that The Fed is easing even when there is limited inventory available. Result? Hideous home price inflation.
Which metro area is growing the fastest, making housing even more unaffordable for renters? Phoenix AZ is growing at a 32.2% YoY clip while Washington DC is the slowest growing metro area at 11.1% YoY. The second faster growing metro area in Tampa FLA.
Phoenix AZ is growing at the fastest rate in the nation as The Fed still has its monetary stimulus at FULL SPEED AHEAD.
The banner headline is … US existing home sales declined 4.6% MoM in December. But that isn’t the interesting news. The interesting news is the mystery of the missing housing inventory. While various pundits told us that inventory would be returning … it isn’t. And the median price of existing home sales is up 14.85% YoY with insane Fed stimulus still in play.
That was December. What will January bring with rising mortgage rates? Freddie Mac’s 30-year commitment rate rose to 3.56% today.
When will housing inventory for sale start to increase? Probably about the same time The Fed ACTUALLY starts raising interest rates and paring back on the monetary stimulus.
Massive Federal stimulus (both fiscal and monetary) have led to bidding wars among the wealthiest Americans. Despite clamoring for The Fed to increase rates and speed-up the shrinking of The Fed’s balance sheet, nothing has happened … yet.
(Bloomberg) — Home buyers willing to spend almost a $1 million are competing the most for a piece of the red-hot U.S. housing market.
Homes priced between $800,000 and $1 million saw the highest rate of bidding wars at 64.6%, followed by 62% for homes between $1 million to $1.5 million and 61.7% for homes above $1.5 million, according to December data from Redfin Corp.
“Buyers should anticipate that they may not win a house until their sixth or seventh bid,” Candace Evans, a Redfin team manager in New York, said in a statement. “If you’re the type of person who falls in love with a house, this is not your market.”
Salt Lake City had the highest bidding-war rate of 37 U.S. metropolitan areas analyzed, with 74% of offers facing competition in December, the firm said. Tucson had a 73.1% bidding-war rate and followed by 71.1% for San Diego.
Prospective buyers are competing for homes as relatively cheap mortgage rates and a proliferation of remote-working opportunities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic boost demand for homes in smaller cities. The number of available homes in several of the hottest markets continue to shrink.
Nearly 60% of home offers written by Redfin agents across the U.S. faced competing bids in December, the firm said. It was the lowest rate in 12 months but an increase from 54% in December 2020 as pandemic-driven demand for housing remains strong.
Vacation homes, which are often pricey and have increased in popularity due to Covid-19, may have contributed to bidding wars in the high-end market, Redfin said. Townhouses had a bidding-war rate of 62% followed by 61.3% for single-family homes, the firm said.
Now its a race against the clock as potential home buyers try to beat Powell and the Gang as they raise mortgages rates.
Yes, Federal stimulus has made the top 1% increase their share of total net worth that includes $800,000+ homes.
Now we have people like JPMC’s Jaime Dimon speculating about 7 rates increases in 2022 and other bankers speculating about a faster than expected withdrawal of the The Fed’s monetary stimulus in the form of asset purchases, we have to anticipate what the result will be in markets.
Like what will happen to housing starts if and when the stimulus is removed.
Today, we saw 1-unit housing starts fall 2.25% from November to December, but multifamily (5+ unit) starts rise 13.7%.
Of course, home price growth of near 20% YoY combined with declining REAL hourly earnings points to more multifamily housing and less single-family detached housing.
Here is the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. 5+ unit permits are up 19.9% in December while 1-unit permits are up 1.99%.
If you look at the following chart, you can see multifamily (5+ unit) starts remain elevated (pink box) which is not surprising given that home prices at growing at 19.1% YoY nationally (orange circle) and REAL hourly earnings have declined (yellow triangle) thanks to reemergence of inflation after 40 years.
Then we have the humming dragon, rising mortgage rates, that will reduce housing affordability even further.
Mortgage rates in the U.S. rose for a third straight week, reaching the highest point in almost two years.
The average for a 30-year loan was 3.45%, up from 3.22% last week and the highest since March 2020, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday.
Rates tracked a jump in yields for 10-year Treasuries, which climbed to levels not seen since early 2020, before the pandemic roiled financial markets. Signs point to borrowing costs rising further as the job market improves and the Federal Reserve steps up its efforts to tame inflation.
That would increase the burden on homebuyers who are already stretching to afford a purchase. Rates for 30-year mortgages tumbled to a record low of 2.65% a little more than a year ago.
Cheap loans have helped fuel a housing rally that’s still running hot even as home prices soar out of reach for many Americans.
But wait! The REAL 30-year mortgage rate (nominal 30-year rate – CPI YoY) is -3.59%.
Lael Brainard, Biden’s nominee to be Vice Chairman of The Federal Reserve, has been one of the “inflation is transitory” crowd. US Senator Toomey is questioning Brainard in today’s hearing. From Toomey’s opening statement:
Last year, Governor Brainard repeatedly insisted that inflation was transitory. We have now had nine consecutive months where inflation has been more than two times the Fed’s 2% target. That makes it pretty clear that inflation is not transitory. Yesterday’s CPI release of 7.0%—the highest in 40 years—confirms that.
Inflation is a tax that is eroding Americans’ paychecks every day. Even though wages are growing, inflation is growing faster and causing workers to fall further and further behind.
At least the REAL mortgage rate is negative!
I hope Senator Toomey shows Brainard this chart of “transitory” negative wage growth.
Negative wage growth and negative REAL mortgage rates. What a total mess!
The last mortgage purchase applications index from the Mortgage Bankers Association was released this morning. The headline is “Mortgage Purchase Applications Plunge 10% WoW (since the previous week). But this is called “Seasonality.” And it happens EVERY YEAR.
Here is a chart of mortgage purchase application (NON-seasonally adjusted). What will happen when the new year starts and purchase applications began rising?
Whether seasonally-adjusted or not, all number are down for the final week of 2021, except for the 30-year mortgage rate that rose 60 basis points.
On a seasonally-adjusted basis (aka, smoothed-out), we can see the impact of super-low mortgage rates on home prices.
Here is the data summary for the last week of December 2021. All indices are down … except for the 30 year mortgage rate which was up 60 basis points.