Las Vegas Real Estate in October: Sales up 5.5% YoY, Inventory down Sharply

This is a key distressed market to follow since Las Vegas has seen the largest price decline of any of the Case-Shiller composite 20 cities.

The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Southern Nevada Housing Market Cools Down in October, GLVAR Housing Statistics for October 2016

The Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® (GLVAR) reported Tuesday that the local housing supply remains tight as Southern Nevada home prices and sales cooled a bit from previous months but remain ahead of last year’s levels.

According to GLVAR, the total number of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in October was 3,225. That was down slightly from September, but up 5.5 percent from 3,057 one year ago. Compared to the same month one year ago, 6.7 percent more homes, and 6.1 percent more condos and townhomes sold in October.

By the end of October, GLVAR reported 7,693 single-family homes listed for sale without any sort of offer. That’s down 29.7 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 1,245 properties listed without offers in October represented a 45.8 percent decrease from one year ago.
emphasis added

1) Overall sales were up 5.5% year-over-year.

2) Active inventory (single-family and condos) is down sharply from a year ago (A very sharp decline in condo inventory).



BLS: Job Openings increased slightly in September

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.5 million on the last business day of September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires edged down to 5.1 million and total separations was little changed at 4.9 million. …

The number of quits was little changed in September at 3.1 million. The quits rate was 2.1 percent. Over the month, the number of quits was little changed for total private, and increased for government (+36,000).
emphasis added

The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

This series started in December 2000.

Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. This report is for September, the most recent employment report was for October.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Click on graph for larger image.

Note that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are pretty close each month. This is a measure of labor market turnover.  When the blue line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs – when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs.

Jobs openings decreased in September to 5.486 million from 5.453 million in August.

The number of job openings (yellow) are up 2% year-over-year.

Quits are up 12% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for “quits”).

This is another solid report.


NFIB: Small Business Optimism Index increases in October

From the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): October 2016 Report: Small Business Economic Trends

The Index of Small Business Optimism rose 0.8 points to 94.9, still in the 94 range that has bound it for the past five months and well below the 42 year average of 98.

Fifty-five percent reported hiring or trying to hire (down 3 points), but 48 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-eight percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 4 points. This indicates that labor markets remain tight and the unemployment rate will remain steady at what many call “full employment”
emphasis added

Small Business Optimism Index Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the small business optimism index since 1986.

The index increased to 94.9 in October.

This is the highest level this year.


Tuesday: Election Day, Job Openings

A few truths: Trump lies repeatedly, he knows nothing about economics, and he is a disgusting person (his comments were not locker room comments). And his threat to jail his political opponent will be discussed and criticized for centuries.

Back in May, I wrote A Comment on Litmus Test Moments. I gave an example of some litmus test moments (issues that will come back and haunt people if they were on the wrong side – like the housing bubble). I argued that rejecting Trump will be a “litmus test” in the future.

Send a message to the future! It is important that Trump loses and loses badly. You will feel better about yourself in a few years when you can honestly say you didn’t vote for Trump.  It will be even better if you can point to a public post opposing Trump written before the election (twitter, Facebook, blog, etc).  You will thank me later.

• At 6:00 AM ET, NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for October.

• At 10:00 AM, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for September from the BLS. Jobs openings decreased in August to 5.443 million from 5.831 million in July. The number of job openings were up 3% year-over-year, and Quits were up 4% year-over-year.

• All day, U.S. Presidential Election. The forecasts of all key analysts and economists assume Ms. Clinton will be the next President (my forecasts also assume a Clinton presidency). So if Trump is elected, expect some market volatility as forecasts are revised.

A beautiful story …


Fed Letter: “Has the Fed Fallen behind the Curve This Year?”

From Fernanda Nechio and Glenn D. Rudebusch at the San Francisco Fed: Has the Fed Fallen behind the Curve This Year?

Last December, monetary policy analysts inside and outside the Fed expected several increases in short-term interest rates this year. Indeed, the median federal funds rate projection in December 2015 by Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) participants was consistent with four ¼ percentage point hikes in 2016. So far, none of those increases has taken place.

Of course, monetary policy decisions are often described as data-dependent, so as economic conditions change, FOMC projections for the appropriate path of monetary policy adjusts in response. However, as Rudebusch and Williams (2008) note, changes in forward policy guidance can confound observers and whipsaw investors. In fact, some have complained that the lower path for the funds rate this year represents an inexplicable deviation from past policy norms. A reporter described these complaints to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at the most recent FOMC press conference (Board of Governors 2016b): “Madam Chair, critics of the Federal Reserve have said that you look for any excuse not to hike, that the goalpost constantly moves.” Such critics have accused the Fed of reacting to transitory, episodic factors, such as financial market volatility, in a manner very different from past systematic Fed policy responses to underlying economic fundamentals.

This Economic Letter examines whether the recent revision to the FOMC’s projection of appropriate monetary policy in 2016 can be viewed as a reasonable course correction consistent with past FOMC behavior. We first show that the projected funds rate revision is not large relative to historical forecast errors. Next, we show that a simple interest rate rule that summarizes past Fed policy can account for this year’s revision to the funds rate projection based on recent changes to the FOMC’s assessment of economic conditions.

And the conclusion:

The downward shift to the FOMC’s 2016 funds rate projection was not large by historical standards and appears consistent with past Fed policy behavior in response to evolving economic fundamentals. Therefore, if monetary policy was correctly calibrated at the end of last year, it likely remains so, and the Fed has not fallen behind the curve this year.


Want To Be Financially Secure? Buy A House

Taking the leap into homeownership — whether you’re considering a home for sale in Austin, TX, or Tampa, FL — can be daunting when you’re used to renting. From house hunting to making an offer to gathering pertinent paperwork, it’s a much more complex process than signing a lease agreement. But while easier financial approval and less […]

The post Want To Be Financially Secure? Buy A House appeared first on Trulia’s Blog.


Fed Survey: “Banks reported stronger demand for most categories of RRE home-purchase loans”

From the Federal Reserve: The October 2016 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices

Regarding loans to businesses, the October survey results indicated that, on balance, banks left their standards on commercial and industrial (C&I) loans basically unchanged while tightening standards on commercial real estate (CRE) loans over the third quarter of 2016. Regarding the demand for C&I loans, a modest net fraction of domestic banks reported weaker demand from large and middle-market firms, while demand from small firms was little changed, on balance. Regarding the demand for CRE loans, a moderate net fraction of banks reported stronger demand for construction and land development loans, while demand for loans secured by multifamily residential and nonfarm nonresidential properties remained basically unchanged on net.

Regarding loans to households, moderate net fractions of banks reported easing standards on loans eligible for purchase by government-sponsored enterprises (known as GSE-eligible mortgage loans), and modest net fractions of banks reported easing standards on loans categorized as QM jumbo and QM non-jumbo, non-GSE-eligible residential mortgages. The remaining categories of home-purchase loans were little changed on net. Banks also reported that demand for most types of home-purchase loans strengthened over the third quarter on net. Regarding consumer loans, on balance, banks indicated that changes in standards on consumer loans remained basically unchanged, while demand for auto and credit card loans rose.

On net, domestic survey respondents generally indicated that their lending standards for CRE loans of all types tightened during the third quarter.6 In particular, a moderate net fraction of banks reported tightening standards for loans secured by nonfarm nonresidential properties, whereas significant net fractions of banks reported tightening standards for construction and land development loans and loans secured by multifamily residential properties.

Regarding the demand for CRE loans, a moderate net fraction of banks reported stronger demand for construction and land development loans, while demand for loans secured by multifamily residential and nonfarm nonresidential properties remained basically unchanged on net.

During the third quarter, a moderate net fraction of banks reported having eased standards on GSE-eligible loans, while modest net fractions reported easing standards on mortgage loans categorized as QM non-jumbo, non-GSE-eligible residential and QM jumbo residential mortgages. Meanwhile, banks left their lending standards basically unchanged for all other categories of residential real estate (RRE) home-purchase loans on net.

Over the third quarter, banks reported stronger demand for most categories of RRE home-purchase loans except for government and subprime residential mortgages. In particular, significant net fractions of banks reported stronger demand for GSE-eligible residential mortgages. Moderate net fractions of banks reported stronger demand for QM non-jumbo, non-GSE-eligible, QM jumbo, non-QM jumbo, and non-QM non-jumbo residential mortgages. emphasis added


Update: Framing Lumber Prices Up Year-over-year

Here is another update on framing lumber prices. Early in 2013 lumber prices came close to the housing bubble highs.

The price increases in early 2013 were due to a surge in demand (more housing starts) and supply constraints (framing lumber suppliers were working to bring more capacity online).

Prices didn’t increase as much early in 2014 (more supply, smaller “surge” in demand).

In 2015, even with the pickup in U.S. housing starts, prices were down year-over-year.  Note: Multifamily starts do not use as much lumber as single family starts, and there was a surge in multi-family starts.  This decline in 2015 was also probably related to weakness in China.

Prices in 2016 are now up year-over-year.

Lumcber PricesClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows two measures of lumber prices: 1) Framing Lumber from Random Lengths through early October 2016 (via NAHB), and 2) CME framing futures.

Right now Random Lengths prices are up 6% from a year ago, and CME futures are up about 20% year-over-year.


4 Things Every Landlord Thinks About Your Credit Score

You’ll need to submit a lot of personal information to a landlord when you find a great apartment for rent. And that can be a challenging process, especially in a competitive rental market like Washington, DC, or New York, NY. What’s a landlord looking for? What information can you submit to show you’re the best tenant for […]

The post 4 Things Every Landlord Thinks About Your Credit Score appeared first on Trulia’s Blog.


Black Knight September Mortgage Monitor

Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) released their Mortgage Monitor report for September today. According to BKFS, 4.27% of mortgages were delinquent in September, down from 4.87% in September 2015. BKFS also reported that 1.00% of mortgages were in the foreclosure process, down from 1.46% a year ago.

This gives a total of 5.27% delinquent or in foreclosure.

Press Release: Black Knight’s Mortgage Monitor: ‘Balancing Act’ of Low Rates, Rising Home Prices is Keeping Affordability Stable for Now; Raising Conforming Loan Limits Could Increase Origination Volumes

Today, the Data & Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services, Inc. released its latest Mortgage Monitor Report, based on data as of the end of September 2016. This month, in light of 52 consecutive months of annual home price appreciation (HPA) and discussion in many quarters around the possibility of raising conforming loan limits, Black Knight took a closer look at HPA trends, home affordability and the impact that raising those limits might have on mortgage originations. …

“The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 restricted any additional increases in the conforming loan limit until national home values returned to pre-crisis levels. Now that we’ve reached that point by multiple measures, the GSEs can consider raising the national conforming limit above the static $417,000 where it has stayed for the last 10 years – aside from the 234 designated ‘high-cost’ counties, of course. Our analysis shows that there are approximately 17 times as many originations – roughly 100,000 in total over the past 12 months – right at the conforming limit compared to preceding dollar amount buckets, and that originations drop off by about 70 percent immediately above the limit. In addition, the data shows that a GSE loan originated right at the conforming limit is nine times more likely to carry a second lien than one that is not. One example scenario shows that, with all else being equal, raising the conforming loan limit by $10,000 could result in a one percent increase in originations – approximately 40,000 new loans and $20 billion in new loan balances.”
emphasis added

BKFS Click on graph for larger image.

This graph from Black Knight shows the Black Knight HPI.

From Black Knight:

• As of August, we’ve seen 52 consecutive months of year-over-year home price appreciation (HPA)

• The national level HPI is now $266K, the highest median home value seen since 2006 and just 0.7 percent off of the June 2006 peak of $268K

• Annual HPA was 5.3 percent in August, and has remained relatively stable in that range over the last 12 months

• The current rate of annual HPA is above the 19921996 average growth of 2.8 percent, but well below what was seen from 19982005

• Housing supply remains low by historical standards; as of August, there was a 4.6-month supply of homes for sale, down from 5.5, 5.5 and 5.2 months the last three years

Even though nominal prices are close to the previous high in the Black Knight index, real prices (adjusted for inflation) are still around 20% below the price peak in June 2006.

There is much more in the mortgage monitor.