Falling mortgage rates are having a predictible effect on mortgage refinancing applications, but not so much for mortgage purchase applications.
Mortgage applications increased 7.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 20, 2023. This week’s results include an adjustment for the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The Refinance Index increased 3.15 percent from the previous week and was 77 percent lower than the same week one year ago.The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 39 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
Generally speaking, declining mortgage rates are due to declining 10-year Treasury yields. And 10-year Treasury yields decline as the economy weakens. Of course, M2 Money growth YoY is now 0% as The Fed tightens.
Three regional Fed reports I like to watch are New York’s Empire State Outlook, Philly Fed’s Outlook and Richmond Fed’s outlook. Today, The Richmond Fed released their manufacturing outlook and … it declined to -11.
So the big three are all down (Philly down to -8.9 while NY’s Empire State outlook is down to -32.9.
On the Treasury front, the US 10Y-3M yield curve inverted further (a signal of impending recession) just tanked to -126.462 basis points.
The Conference Board’s Leading Indicator should be called The Bleeding Indicator given that the leading index has declined to 10 straight months. This is happening as The Fed tightens monetary policy to combat inflation.
Leading indicators include economic variables that tend to move before changes in the overall economy. These indicators give a sense of the future state of an economy.
I must admit, Joe Biden has a horribly misleading nickname “Middle Class Joe.” Between Biden’s horrible energy policies and Pelosi’s/Schumer’s spending binges, the US middle class and low wage workers have suffered mightely with the inflation tax. Throw in Jerome Powell and The Federal Reserve’s manic money printing and the American middle class has a problem.
US inflation peaked at 9.1% year-over-year (YoY), but has declined to a still painful 7.1% YoY as The Fed removes it aggressive monetary stimulus. But to cope with persistent US inflation, consumers have had to dip into savings and use more credit cards. As a consequence, personal savings plunged -64.8% YoY while consumer credit rose 7.9% YoY.
The other tax on the middle class and low-wage workers is the 21 straight months of negative REAL weekly earnings growth.
On the housing front, REAL home prices are growing at 1.5% YoY while REAL weekly wage growth is still NEGATIVE at -3.13% YoY.
Make no mistake, inflation caused by The Fed and Federal governments spending is a tax on the middle class and low wage workers.
Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and Powell are the 4 Horseman of the Inflation Apocalypse.
First, US default risk as measured by credit default swaps remains elevated (primarily because Biden and Democrats refused to cut wasteful spending or reign in non-retirees on Social Security). And NY Fed’s Reverse Repos remain elevated.
And then we have Citi’s economic surprise index for the US at -17 as The Fed slows money growth to 0%.
Notice that the debt ceiling keeps on climbing once the Kabuki Theater of Democrats and Republicans is over.
The Volatility Cube for the US CDS 1 year signals that it will all be over soon.
So, Yellen and Treasury are threatening us with taking away Social Security and Medicare if we don’t agree with their lavish Pelosi-like spending sprees and debt.
And why exactly is Janet Yellen flying to China? I admit Washington DC has lousy Chinese food, but at least I hope Yellen takes Hunter Biden with her to negotiate the impending US default and debt workout.