Jobless Claims Fall To 4.2 Million, Down 20 Million From A Year Ago, As Pandemic Benefits End

Initial jobless claims dropped below their recent range last week, falling to the second lowest level since the COVID-lockdowns crushed the economy. Only 326k Americans filed for jobless benefits for the first time last week, down from 364k last week and below the 348k expectation.

The massive Covid stimulus for employment has worn out. Note the decline in Pandemic Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Emergency Claims. The thrill is gone … of pandemic unemployment benefits.

Continuing claims also declined from the previous week, again largely from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Claims programs ending.

On a related note, Challenger job cuts were down -84.9% YoY. But for September, there was a surge in low-paying retail jobs and transportation jobs as Panademic stimulus ran out and governments have pretty much stopped their destructive government shutdowns of economies.

So this is where all the Pandemic claimants have gone?


Bizarro World! 1-month T-bill Yield Lower Than 1-year T-bill Yield (U.S. Faces A Recession If Congress Doesn’t Address The Debt Limit Within 2 Weeks, Yellin’ Yellen says)

Treasury Secretary Janet “Go big or go home” Yellen is beating the hysteria drum by saying that the US faces a recession if Congress doesn’t increase the debt ceiling.

Well, Janet, we are headed there anyway with GDP crashing to a measly 1.33%.

The fear of not approving a debt ceiling increase (laughable since Democrats can do it on their own) has caused there to be a “little dipper” in the US Treasury actives curve. Meaning that the 1-month T-bill yield is higher than the 1-year T-bill yield.

How bizarre is this getting?

US Real GDP Plummets To 1.33% As Fed Continues To Help Inflate Prices (Baltic Dry Shipping Price Index Soars!)

The Atlanta Fed’s real-time GDP tracker fell … again … to 1.33% as The Federal Reserve continues its bizarre monetary stimulus.

The culprits? Declining auto sales, manufacturing, etc.

I have discussed soaring prices since Biden’s election (food, energy, housing, rent, etc). But another soaring price component is shipping costs. Up 315% since mid-February.

While Trump’s slogan was “Make American Great Again”, Biden and The Fed’s slogan should be “Make America Far More Expensive For The Middle Class.” But that won’t fit on a bumper sticker.

And Biden/Democrats now want to RAISE taxes!

Median-Income Buyers Priced Out Of Housing Market With Fed Stimulus (Why Won’t The Fed Stop?)

The Atlanta Fed has interesting research paper on the housing market.

Key points

  • The national HOAM index stood at 92.2 in June, its lowest level since 2008.
  • National housing affordability fell 11.9 percent in June, the sharpest drop since 2014.
  • Home sale prices were up 23.8 percent over the past year.
  • On average, a median-income household would need to spend 32.6 percent of its annual earnings to own a median-priced home.
  • Although demand for housing remains strong, steadily declining affordability is beginning to affect buying decisions.

The latest reading of an Atlanta Fed measure and US housing trends show home ownership is becoming out of reach for many buyers and resistance to higher prices is building. More than 80 percent of US metro areas had a drop in affordability.

Where is housing most and least affordable?

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Of course, the one chart that The Fed never includes is home price growth and Fed monetary policy.

So, if The Fed is so concerned with median-income households being priced out of housing markets, why are the still sticking with their unorthodox monetary policies?

Consumer Sentiment For Housing Falls Due To Skyrocketing Home Prices (Consumers Get Powell’d!)

I have a new term for consumers that get beaten-up by The Fed’s massive distortion of markets. I call this being “Powell’d”.

The latest example of consumers getting Powell’d is in the University of Michigan consumer survey. Buying conditions for housing just fell to the lowest level since 1982.

Foul Powell on the prowl.

Dracula’s enemy Harker says that he sees rate hike in late 2022 or early 2023.

“I am in the camp that believes it will soon be time to begin slowly and methodically — frankly, boringly — tapering our $120 billion in monthly purchases of Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities.”

Here is a photo of Harker with Fed Chair Powell.

US GDP Price Index Highest Since 1981 As Q2 GDP Revised To 6.7% (Thanks For The Stimulus!)

Thanks for the stimulus! Or thanks for the Covid virus that enabled The Fed and DC to go crazy with low rates and spending.

While US GDP printed at a revised 6.7% QoQ (annualized), it is the GDP PRICE Index that bears looking at. It rose 6.1%, the fastest rate since 1981.

At least GDP was revised upwards to 6.7% QoQ, thanks to unpredented monetary and fiscal stimulus.

Stimulypto! U.S. Rents Are Increasing at ‘Shocking’ Rates of More Than 11.5% (Newly-signed Leases Rose 17%)

So much for the transitory inflation that The Federal Reserve keeps spouting on about.

(Bloomberg) — The pace of rent increases is heating up in the U.S.

Rent data for the past two months show no sign yet of the usual seasonal dip at this time of year, following peaks early in the summer, when many lease renewals come due.

A Zillow Group Inc. index based on the mean of listed rents rose 11.5% in August from a year earlier, with some cities in Florida, Georgia and Washington state seeing increases of more than 25%. 

Since the start of the pandemic, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment has soared 13.1% to $1,663, Zumper data show

But rent on newly-signed leases rose 17% from the previous tenant’s lease.

For the New York market, landlords are raising rent prices as much as 70% now that people are flooding back into the city as offices and entertainment venues open up. In July, the median asking rent in New York City surged to $3,000, compared with the pandemic low of $2,750 in January 2021, data from StreetEasy showed.

Of course, rent surge is not surprising given that home prices have surged since Covid given limited inventory and massive Fed stimulus.

Perhaps if The Fed and Federales (Federal government) start reducing their apocalyptic-level stimulus, THEN we will see inflation as transitory.

Mortgage Lender Offering 105% LTV Loan With $500 Down And Downpayment Assistance, FICO Down From 660 To 620 (Into The Storm!)

I call this “lending into the storm.”

A national mortgage lender has just introduced a 105 Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loan and a lowering of FICO scores from 660 to 620.

Now, the loan still requires 97% LTV with downpayment assistance and gift funds permitted to boost CLTV to 105%.

With The Fed helping to raise home prices at a whopping 20% YoY, …

lenders are trying to find loan products for lower-income households so they can get in on the bubble! Hence, a 105% CLTV mortgage product with reduced credit requirements and increased Debt-to-income requirement rising from 43% to 45%. Also, borrowers can avoid the 3% downpayment requirement and put down only $500.

This is lending into the storm: softening of underwriting requirements as the house price bubble surges. Sound like 2005. This was not supposed to happen. After the housing bubble burst and the financial crisis, The Fed was supposed to encourage counter-cyclical lending (tighten credit standards as a housing bubble worsens). Instead, lenders are lowering credit standards, feeding the house price bubble.

If this was just one lender, I would have barely noticed. But this mortgage is being offered by most banks. And then sold to our GSEs: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Government mortgage giant Fannie Mae purchases these mortgages in their 3% down programs.

Eligibility and Terms

  • Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) underwriting required
  • 1-unit principal residence, including eligible condos, co-ops, PUDs, and MH Advantage® (Standard manufactured housing: max. 95% LTV/CLTV)
  • Fixed-rate mortgages with a maximum term of 30 years and ARMs are eligible (restrictions apply)
  • Reserves (if required per DU) may be gifted
  • Combined LTV up to 105% provided subordinate lien is an eligible Community Seconds® loan
  • Downpayment assistance found here.

Speaking of lending into a storm, as part of the raft of new legislation designed to spur first-time homeownership in America, a remarkable bill has joined the fray: its sponsors propose creating a new subsdizied 20-year-fixed-rate mortgage program through Ginnie Mae, HousingWire reports.

According to the bill, Ginnie Mae in tandem with the Department of the Treasury would subsidize the interest rate and origination fees associated with these 20-year mortgages, so that the monthly payment would be in line with a new 30-year FHA-insured mortgage. The move – which is an explicit subsidy of one share of the population by another – could, in theory, “allow qualified homebuyers to build equity-and wealth- at twice the rate of a conventional 30-year mortgage.” Instead, what it will do is lead to is an even bigger housing bubble.

As I said, lending into a storm.

US Home Price Growth Hits 20%! While Fed’s Inflation Target Is 2% (Phoenix AZ Growing At Whopping 32.4% YoY!)

The Federal Reserve is dominating the news today as two Fed regional Presidents have resigned (Rosengren [Boston] and Kaplan [Dallas]) for trading irregularities.

Speaking of The Fed, their target rate for inflation is 2%. Yet the Case-Shiller 20 metro home price index just rose to 20% YoY for July. Yes, house price growth is 10 times The Fed’s target rate!!

Now, it is September 28, so this is a report of happenings two months ago. Well, now you know why The Fed ignores housing despite being the largest asset is most household’s portfolio.

A measure of prices in 20 U.S. cities gained 19.9% in July. Phoenix led the way with a 32.4% surge. New York (17.8%), Boston (18.7%), Dallas (23.7%), Seattle (25.5%) and Denver (21.3%) were among the cities that posted record year-over-year increases.

The housing market is over, under, sideways, down thanks to The Fed pumping trillions into a market with limited available inventory.

The Fed is not talking about housing. Or the fact that home prices are growing at 10 times the rate of The Fed’s inflation target.

The Fed Helped Create Housing Bubble I And Then Helped Create Housing Bubble II: The Sequel (Case Study Of Phoenix AZ Home Price Bubble)

Phil Hall of Benzinga wrote a series of excellent articles in four parts for MortgageOrb (although “The Orb” has removed his name). Here are the links to his stories.

https://mortgageorb.com/the-fall-and-rise-of-the-housing-market-part-one

https://mortgageorb.com/the-fall-and-rise-of-the-housing-market-part-two

https://mortgageorb.com/the-fall-and-rise-of-the-housing-market-part-three

https://mortgageorb.com/the-fall-and-rise-of-the-housing-market-part-four

After re-reading these excellent articles on the housing bubble and crash, I thought I would take the opportunity to present a few charts to highlight the housing bubble, pre-crash and post-crash.

Here is a graph of Phoenix AZ home prices. Note the bubble that peaked in mid 2006. The Phoenix bubble correlates with the large volume of sub-620 FICO lending and Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) lending. Bear in mind, many of the ARMs prior to 2010 were NINJA (no income, no job) ARM loans.

What happened? Serious delinquenices at the national levels spiked as The Great Recession set in and unemployment spiked.

Since the housing bubble burst and surge in serious mortgage delinquencies, The Federal Reserve entered the economy with a vengeance. And have never left, and increased their drowning of markets with liquidity.

The Fed whip-sawing of interest rates in response to the 2001 recession was certainly a problem. They dropped The Fed Funds Target rate like a rock, then homebuilding went wild nationally and home prices soared thanks to Alt-A (NINJA) and ARM lending. But now The Fed is dominating markets like a gigantic T-Rex.

Oddly, then Fed Chair Ben Bernanke never saw the bubble coming. Or the burst.

Speaking of pizza, Donato’s from Columbus Ohio is my favorite. Founder’s Favorite is my favorite, but they do offer the dreaded Hawaiian pizza (ham, pineapple, almonds and … cinnamon?)

Bleech!