Last week I ran away…

Last week I ran away…

Last week I ran away… well sort of. I went on vacation for the first time in 5 years. Not something I’m proud of, as vacations are necessary for balance. It’s just tough to get away, especially in an industry like mortgage lending!

I took my son and niece to Yosemite! We had a blast ziplining, hiking and just taking in the beauty.

The weather was warm, but beautiful, and the crowds were manageable, as school was in back in session for most.

Here’s a few pictures:

yosemite

zipline

Note to self: take more vacations, even if for a few days. It’s good for the soul.

Onto the market update…

New Home Sales: Trying to chart the trajectory of new home sales can prove challenging. For the month of July, sales rocketed up 12.4 percent to a 654,000 annualized rate. This however follows June’s modest report that was revised downward by 10,000 to 572,000 annually. Up or down, we just don’t seem to see a clear path as to which direction the market is going.

It appears that the jump in sales is being driven by builders offering pricing discounts as the median price fell by 5.1 percent. What appears odd in the report is that prices have declined despite the fact that inventory has declined as well. It would be expected that with inventories dropping to 4.3 months from 4.9 months, this would create upward movement in pricing, versus the opposite which is being seen.

FHFA House Price Index: The FHFA HPI appears to reinforce the data from the new home sales report that home sales are moving higher with increasing seller incentives and discounts. For the second straight month the index is up, although a meager 0.2 percent. Currently, prices are 5.6 percent higher than the same time last year. In March and April, the difference between this year and prior year prices were 6.3 percent and 6.0 percent. It is clear that price momentum is slowing.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: The data from the Mortgage Bankers Association of America continues to point to slowing activity for home purchases. For the week ending 8/19, the data shows a slight decline in purchase applications of 0.3 percent. This follows the prior report of a 4.0 percent drop. Refinances have also been slowing for the second consecutive week by 3.0 percent. This follows the previous week decline of 4.0 percent. Applications compared to the same time last year remain higher by 8.0 percent.

First Time Jobless Claims: It is getting to the point that writing about first time jobless claims is like a broken record. Once again the claims remain at a very healthy rate of 261,000. This is a slight drop from the prior week’s 265,000 and remains well below the artificial threshold of 300K.

The Fed and Interest Rates: Traders appear to be thinking that the odds of the Fed raising interest rates in September are rising. The latest surveys show that about 1/3 of investors believe that a September rate hike will occur. Although this is all speculation, many investors will be focused on Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s comments in her speech at the monetary policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to try and get a better gauge of the Fed mindset for their next meeting.  

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday August 29th – Personal Income and Outlays
  • Tuesday August 30th – S&P Case-Shiller HPI & Consumer Confidence
  • Wednesday August 31st – MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report, Pending Home Sales, and EIA Petroleum Status Report
  • Thursday September 1st – First Time Jobless Claims, ISM Mfg Index & Construction Spending
  • Friday September 2nd – National Employment & Factory Orders

 

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.