Simply Unaffordable! Fannie Mae Multifamily Financing Grew 23% … While Home Prices Grew 19.1% And Real Hourly Earnings Fell -2.36% (Rising Mortgage Rates Make The Affordability Problem WORSE)

Mortgage Orb has the tantalizing headline: “Fannie Mae’s Financing for Multifamily Affordable Housing Grew Over 23%.” At first, this sounds amazing … until you realize how simply unaffordable housing is much of urban/suburban America.

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.

Home ownership has become simply unaffordable much like steaks. Doctor, doctor (Yellen), we got a bad case of unaffordable home ownership.

Mortgage Rates in the U.S. Soar to the Highest Since March 2020 (3.45% Nominal Rate, -3.59% REAL Rate)

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!

CoreLogic: Home Prices Rise Record 18.1% In November (When Will Fed Take Its Foot Off The Pedal??)

  • Home price growth especially strong in Mountain West and Southeastern states
  • By November 2022, annual home price growth is predicted to slow to 2.8%

Yes, US home prices continue to rage with CoreLogic’s home price index rising 18.1% YoY.

Their forecast for 2022 is only 2.8% YoY likely due to forecast mortgage rate increases and fiscal stimulus wearing out.

Arizona, of course, is leading at 28.6% YoY. Florida is in second place followed by Idaho.

Slowdown? Let’s hope the slowdown doesn’t turn into a Matchbox and lead to declining home prices.

US Existing Home Sales Rise In November While Median Price Rises 13.9% YoY Amidst Declining Inventory

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses a lame measure of house price inflation, US existing home sales MEDIAN PRICE YoY is growing at 13.9%.

US existing home sales rose by 6.46 million units SAAR, less than the expected 6.53 million units SAAR.

Where is the inventory increases that various talking heads were predicting would emerge? Maybe they meant SUBMERGE?

Here is a video of me looking for the increasing inventory.

Psst! US Inflation Is REALLY >11% YoY (Not The Stated 6.9% YoY)

Earlier today I wrote about the horrible November Consumer Price Index (CPI) print of 6.9% YoY.

But that 6.9% YoY is very misleading because of the strange way the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures the largest asset in most households’ expenditures: housing.

The BLS measures inflation in housing using the Shelter measurement. Which was only 3.88% YoY. The problem is that the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index was 19.52% in its last reading. That is quite a discrepancy.

So, if we substitute the Case-Shiller National home price index for the CPI Shelter, we get an inflation rate of greater than 11%.

And with the Zillow Rent for all homes index growing at 11.2%, this feels more like we are being hit over the head with. Or like trying to eat raw oyster stew … when the oyster fight back.

Here is a video of The Federal Reserve and the Biden Administration trying to control inflation.

Fed Talk,Talk! Mortgage Applications SURGE 56% WoW As Treasury Yields Tank (Purchase Apps Spike 28% WoW)

Despite the “Talk, Talk” from The Federal Reserve about balance sheet taper and rate “normalization,” we actually saw the 10-year Treasury yield fall from 1.6651% on 11/23/2021 to 1.343 on 12/3/2021. While the 30-year mortgage rate only fell from 3.31% to 3.3%, it is the SIGNAL that The Fed is sending that people should refinance their mortgages ASAP.

You can see the rise in mortgage refinancing applications of 56% week-over-week (WoW) (white line) with the drop in the 10-year Treasury yield (blue line) despite the relatively small drop in the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) tiny drop in their 30-year mortgage rate index.

Ditto for the MBA mortgage purchase application index. The drop in the US Treasury yield (blue line) resulted in a 28% WoW increase in mortgage purchase applications.

Here is the table of MBA data for the week of 12/03.

Please note that the 10-year Treasury yield have jumped since 12/03 indicating that mortgage application activity for the week of 12/10 will be lower.

Here is the MOVE bond volatility index and the US Treasury 10-yield chart. Can you spot the COVID outbreak??

Here is a video of Fed Chair Jay Powell doing “Talk, talk” about tapering.

US Unit Labor Costs SOAR 9.60% QoQ As Labor Productivity DECLINES 5.20% QoQ (Worst Since 1960)

If this what the Biden Administration had in mind? Soaring labor costs at the same time that labor productivity is falling to its lowest level since 1960?

Powell and the Gang’s monetary approach doesn’t seem to be working for the labor market …

But is working extremely well for asset prices.

Wall Street parties while Main Street suffers worst decline in productivity since 1960.

US Mortgage Refinancing Applications Index PLUNGES 40.3% WoW (Purchase Apps Index Plunges 30.4%)

Its that time of year for mortgage purchases applications! Purchase applications usually decline during December and start to rise after the beginning of the year.

Mortgage purchase applications (white line) dropped -30.4% from the previous week, not usual for December. But what is surprising is the drop in REFINANCING applications: down -40.3% from the previous week.

30-year mortgage rates rose 2.16% from the previous week.

But between Omicron (or as the French say, “Oh! Macron!”) and The Federal Reserve, there is a good chance that mortgage rates will fall this week putting a quick end to refi application plunge.

Purchase applications? Nope, it is that time of the season when purchase applications drop like a rock.

Renter Misery Index At 17.42% With Traditional Misery Index At 10.80% (Biden Says $5 TRILLION “Build Back Better Boondoggle” Will Relieve Inflation Over 10 Years)

Renters in the US are getting clobbered by inflation.

The US Zillow Rent Index All Homes YoY + CPI YoY is one measure of renter misery.

The classic misery index (CPI YoY + U-3 unemployment rate) is 10.80%.

Then there is inflation in food prices, gasoline, heating oil, natural gas, etc.

While Biden is releasing the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) in order to mitigate the problem that he created by terminating the energy pipelines and oil/natural gas drilling permits in the name of “Going Green!” But on the announcement of tapping the SPR, crude oil futures actually rose.

But never fear! Biden claims that his $5 TRILLION Build Back Better Boondoggle (BBBB) will ease inflation … over 10 years. And he claims that “17 Nobel Prize winners in economics have said that my plan will “ease inflationary pressures.”” I sincerely doubt that any of them actually read the 2,500 page BBBB. Rather, they likely just read the White House talking points and said “Hey, that sounds good!” Mo money, less problems?

Here is Joe Biden breaking the legs of America’s renters. Or is that multi-millionaire Nancy Pelosi?

The Fed’s Gilded Age: A Tale of Today’s Housing Market (REAL Home Prices Rising At 14.6% YoY As REAL Hourly Earnings Fall (-0.41% YoY)

Welcome to The Fed’s Gilded Age … for housing! The gilded age refers to the thin-veneer of gold covering up problems in the late 1800s.

Today’s gilded age is largely fueled by The Federal Reserve’s uber-easy monetary policies combined with absurd Federal government policies. The result? Thanks to inflation, REAL home prices are growing at 14.6% YoY while REAL hourly earnings are declining (-0.41% YoY).

Redfin predicts a more balanced housing market in 2022. Part of their rationale is that they predict mortgage rates will rise to 3.6%. This growth in the mortgage rate is predicted to slow home price growth to 3.2% from double digit growth currently.

While this scenario is plausible, it will require a change in direction of the 10-year Treasury yield which has been declining since 1981. 5.39% YoY inflation may encourage The Fed to raise rates.

Today’s REAL 30-year mortgage rate is -3.08% while the REAL 10-year Treasury yield is -4.67%. It will require a reduction in inflation AND an increase in the nominal rate to get to 3.6%.

With the Freddie Mac 30-year survey rate at 3.10, will a 50 basis point increase in mortgage rates send the market crashing? Not likely.

After all, the US economy is under the thumb of The Federal Reserve.