Category Archives: Housing

U.S. Cities With The Biggest Housing Bubbles

This is how monetary policies have crushed the value of labor.

For the good folks who hope fervently that the Fed doesn’t have reasons to raise rates or unwind QE because there isn’t enough inflation, here is an update on one aspect of inflation – asset price inflation, and particularly house price inflation – where the value of your hard-earned dollars has collapsed over a given number of years to where it takes a whole lot more dollars to pay for the same house.

So here are some visuals of amazing house price bubbles, city by city. Bubbles really aren’t hard to recognize, if you want to recognize them. What’s hard to predict accurately is when they will burst. Normally the Fed doesn’t want to acknowledge them. But now it has its eyes focused on them.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index for June was released today. It jumped 5.8% year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, once again outpacing growth in household incomes, as it has done for years. At 192.6, the index has surpassed by 5% the peak in May 2006 of crazy Housing Bubble 1, which everyone called “housing bubble” after it imploded (data via FRED, St. Louis Fed):

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-National-Index-2017-08-29.png

The Case-Shiller Index is based on a rolling-three month average; today’s release was for April, May, and June data. Instead of median prices, it uses “home price sales pairs,” for example, a house sold in 2011 and then again in 2017. Algorithms adjust this price movement and add other factors. The index was set at 100 for January 2000. An index value of 200 means prices have doubled in the past 17 years, which is what most of the metros in this series have accomplished, or are close to accomplishing.

Real estate is local. Therefore real estate bubbles are local. If enough local bubbles balloon at the same time, it becomes a national housing bubble. As the above chart shows, the US national Housing Bubble 2 now exceeds the crazy levels of Housing Bubble 1, and in all ten major metro areas, home prices are setting new records.

In the Boston metro, the home price index is now 11% above the peak of Housing Bubble 1 (Nov 2005):

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-Boston-2017-08-29.png

Home prices in the Seattle metro have spiked over the past year, pushing the index 20% above the peak of Housing Bubble 1 (Jul 2007):

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-Seattle-2017-08-29.png

Then there’s Denver’s very special house price bubble. The index has soared a stunning 43% above the peak of Housing Bubble 1 (Aug 2006):

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-Dener-2017-08-29.png

People in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro felt left out during Housing Bubble 1, when prices rose only 13% in five years, while folks in other parts of the country were getting rich just sitting there. They also skipped much of the house price crash. But they know how to party when time comes. The index has now surged by 42% from the peak in June 2007:

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-dallas-2017-08-29.png

The Atlanta metro, where home prices had plunged 36% after Housing Bubble 1, has now finally squeaked past the prior peak by 2%, with a near-perfect V-shaped bubble recovery:

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-Atlanta-2017-08-29.png

Portland’s home prices have kicked butt since 2012, with the index soaring 71% in five years – not that homes were cheap in Portland in 2012. Portland’s house price bubble is now 20% above the peak of Housing Bubble 1:

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-Portland-2017-08-29.png

The San Francisco Case-Shiller Index, which covers the five-county Bay Area and not just San Francisco, is now 10% above the insane peak of Housing Bubble 1. During the last housing crash, the index plunged 43%. Eight years of global monetary craziness has sent liquidity from around the world sloshing knee-deep through the streets, which has performed miracles:

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-San-Francisco-Bay-Area-2017-08-29.png

Los Angeles home prices performed similar feat, doubling from 2002 to July 2006, before giving up two-thirds of those gains, then soaring once again. The index is now 3% above the peak of totally insane Housing Bubble 1:

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-Los-Angeles-2017-08-29.png

New York City condo bubble never saw the crash in its full bloom. Prices are now 19% above the peak of the prior bubble (Feb. 2006). Over the past 15 years, the index has soared 112%:

https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/US-Housing-Case-Shiller-New-York-condos-2017-08-29.png

While the monetary policies of the past eight years have had no impact on wage inflation in the US, and only moderate impact on consumer price inflation, they’ve been a rip-roaring success in creating asset price inflation.

Asset price inflation means that the dollar loses its value when it comes to buying assets. Wage earners, when they’re trying to buy assets today – not just homes but any type of asset, including buying into retirement plans – are finding out that their labor is buying only a fraction of the assets that their labor could buy eight years ago. This is how these monetary policies have crushed the value of labor.

By Wolf Richter | Wolf Street

 

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Professional Woman Quits Expensive Rents To Live In A Van

A 31-year-old professional woman has turned her back on expensive rents and property prices – by living full time in a van. With an interior measuring just 13ft 2in long, 5ft 8in wide and 6ft 2in high, Eileah Ohning’s home is her Freightliner Sprinter High Top van. The photographic producer from Columbus, Ohio, has lived in her compact four-wheel home since May 2017. Complete with a memory foam mattress, storage compartments, a desk and a camping stove, she even has plans to add in a shower, toilet and fridge. Eileah parks her van close enough to her workplace that she never needs to worry about the morning commute and showers at her local gym.

Housing Starts Unexpectedly Sink, Multi-Family in Huge 34% Retreat Year-Over-Year

Construction spending for the second quarter is off to a slow start as judged by housing starts. The Econoday consensus was for a 1% rise. Instead, starts declined nearly 5% from the initial June report, now revised lower.

Construction Indicators Slide

Mortgage News Daily reports Construction Indicators Slide, Housing Starts Suffer.

After posting unexpectedly high numbers in June, all three residential construction indicators lost ground in July, and one, housing starts, is now running below its year-ago rate. While the softening is primarily in the multi-family sector, starts have declined in four of the last five months and permits in three of the last four.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said privately owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,155,000 units, a 4.8 percent decline from June’s estimate of 1,213,000, which was revised down from 1,215,000. July starts were down 5.6 percent from the 1,223,000-unit annual rate in July 2016.

Starts failed to meet even the lowest predictions of analysts polled by Econoday. Their estimates ranged from 1.174 million to 1.250 million with a consensus of 1.225 million.

Single family starts were at a rate of 856,000, down 0.5 percent from a month earlier but 10.9 percent higher than the same month in 2016. Multifamily starts plunged 17.1 percent to 287,000 units and are down 35.2 percent year-over-year.

The performance of permits was like that of housing starts, down 4.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,223,000 units. Permits however held on to an annual increase of 4.1 percent. The June permitting rate was revised higher, from 1,254,000 to 1,275,000.

Analysts had expected permits to decline, with a consensus estimate of 1.246 units. Here again the drop was outside the low end of the range of 1.230 to 1.270 million units.

Authorizations for single-family homes were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 811,000, unchanged from June and 13.0 percent higher on an annual basis. Multi-family permits were 12.1 percent lower than the previous month at 377,000. This was down 11.7 percent year-over-year.

Permits:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/residential-construction-2017-08-19c1.png?w=1249&h=700

Starts:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/residential-construction-2017-08-19b1.png?w=1258&h=700

Units Under Construction:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/residential-construction-2017-08-19a.png?w=1275&h=700

Second-Half Outlook:

Econoday came up with this overall assessment: “Putting all the pieces together: starts are down 5.6 year-on-year in weakness offset by permits which are up 4.1 percent. Permits are the forward looking indication in this report and today’s news, despite July weakness and general volatility in the data, is good. The housing sector, even with starts being soft, looks to be a contributor to the second-half economy.”

While it’s true that it takes a permit to begin construction, a permit does not guarantee construction will start anytime soon. At economic turns, they won’t.

Even assuming those permits turn into starts, the data still does not look to be a contributor to the second-half economy.

The number of permits and starts for multifamily explains what you need to know. 5-unit or more buildings will add more to construction spending numbers than 1-unit buildings. Permits and starts for multifamily structures plunged.

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Number Of Homebuyers Putting Less Than 10% Down Soars To 7-Year High

A really long, long time ago, well before most of today’s wall street analysts made it through puberty, the entire international financial system almost collapsed courtesy of a mortgage lending bubble that allowed anyone with a pulse to finance over 100% of a home’s purchase price…with pretty much no questions asked.

And while the millennial titans of high finance today may consider a decade-old case study on mortgage finance to be about as useful as a Mark Twain novel when it comes to underwriting mortgage risk, they may want to considered at least taking a look at the ancient finance scrolls from 2009 before gleefully repeating the sins of their forefathers.

Alas, it may be too late.  As Black Knight Financial Services points out, down payments, the very thing that is supposed to deter rampant housing speculation by forcing buyers to have ‘skin in the game’, are once again disappearing from the mortgage market.  In fact, just in the last 12 months, 1.5 million borrowers have purchased a home with less than 10% down, a 7-year high.

Over the past 12 months, 1.5M borrowers have purchased a home by putting down less than 10 percent, which is close to a seven-year high in low down payment purchase volumes

– The increase is primarily a function of the overall growth in purchase lending, but, after nearly four consecutive years of declines, low down payment loans have ticked upwards in market share over the past 18 months

– Looking back historically, we see that half of all low down payment lending (less than 10 percent down) in 2005-2006 involved piggyback second liens rather
than a single high LTV first lien mortgage

– The low down payment market share actually rose through 2010 as the GSEs and portfolio lenders pulled back, the PLS market dried up, and FHA lending buoyed
the purchase market as a whole

– The FHA/VA share of purchase lending rose from less than 10 percent during 2005-2006 to nearly 50 percent in 2010

– As the market normalized and other lenders returned, the share of low-down payment lending declined consistent with a drop in the FHA/VA share of the purchase market

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/08/14/2017.08.14%20-%20Mortgage%20Bubble.JPG

On the bright side, at least Yellen’s interest rate bubble means that today’s housing speculators don’t even have to rely on introductory teaser rates to finance their McMansions...Yellen just artificially set the 30-year fixed rate at the 2007 ARM teaser rate…it’s just much easier this way.

“The increase is primarily a function of the overall growth in purchase lending, but, after nearly four consecutive years of declines, low down payment loans have ticked upward in market share over the past 18 months as well,” said Ben Graboske, executive vice president at Black Knight Data & Analytics, in a recent note. “In fact, they now account for nearly 40 percent of all purchase lending.”

At that time half of all low down payment loans being made involved second loans, commonly known as “piggyback loans,” but today’s mortgages are largely single, first liens, Graboske noted.

The loans of the past were also far riskier – mostly adjustable-rate mortgages, which, according to the Black Knight report, are virtually nonexistent among low down payment mortgages today. Instead, most are fixed rate. Credit scores of borrowers taking out these loans today are also about 50 points higher than those between 2004 and 2007.

Finally, on another bright note, tax payers are just taking all the risk upfront this time around…no sense letting the banks take the risk while pretending that taxpayers aren’t on the hook for their poor decisions…again, it’s just easier this way.

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/08/14/2017.08.14%20-%20Mortgage%20Bubble%202.JPG

Source: ZeroHedge

Rents Across The US Hit A New All Time High

After dropping to an all time low 62.9% in Q2 of 2016, the US home ownership rate rebounded modestly in the subsequent two quarters, then dropped again at the start of the year, before once again rising fractionally to 63.7% in Q2 of 2017 from 63.6% in the previous quarter, just 1% from the all time lows in the series history going back to the mid 1960s.

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/homeownership%20q2%202017_0.jpg

A breakdown of the data by age group reveals that the primary driver for this decline has been the youngest age cohort. While older Americans, especially those 65 and older, have predictably seen only modest declines in their home ownership in recent decades, it was the youngest age group, those 35 and younger, the Millennials, who over the past decade have seen their home ownership decline steadily from the low 40%’s to the mid-30%, although in Q2 there was a glimmer of good news, as the home ownership rate for Americans 35 and younger posted its first increase in 3 quarters, rising from 34.3% to 35.3%.

As shown in the chart below, the homeownership rate for Millennials has declined from 43.6% in June 2004 to 35.3% in the latest qua rter, and just shy of the lowest rate reported by the Census Bureau going back nearly a quarter century. Of note: while Millennials finally splurged on houses in the latest quarter, the home ownership rates for every other age cohort declined.

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/homeownership%20by%20age%20group.jpg

But what was most notable in the latest Census data is that for yet another quarter, more Americans opted not to own, but rather rent, and in Q1 the median asking rent jumped by 7.4% Y/Y, from $864 in Q1 to $910.

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/asking%20rent%20average%20q2%202017_0.jpg

Broken down by region, the sharpest spike in asking rents was in the Northeast and Western regions, whose median asking rents were nearly identical, at $1,182 and $1,192, an increase of 21% and 16%, respectively.

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/asking%20rent%20by%20region%20q2%202017.jpg

Finally, what makes the latest spike in rents curious is that while the homeownership vacancy rate declined in the latest quarter, the rental vacancy rate actually increased to 7.3% from 7.0%, the highest since Q1 2016. The rental vacancy has been increasing since Q2 2016 when it troughed at 6.7%, and has since posted four quarters of consecutive growth. It would seem counter intuitive that the vacancy rate is rising even as median asking rents are hitting new all time highs.

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/rental%20vacancy%20q2%202017.jpg

While a new record in rents is hardly what Americans want to hear, it will be music to the Fed’s ears as it means that contrary to various other calculations and imputations, inflation in the US is alive and well.

Source: ZeroHedge

Fannie Mae Says Economy Will Slow in 2nd Half Of 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – Expectations for 2017 economic growth remain at 2.0 percent amid a projected second half slowdown, according to the Fannie Mae Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group’s July 2017 Economic and Housing Outlook. With the expansion having entered its ninth year, incoming data point to a second quarter economic growth rebound to 2.7 percent annualized, up from 1.4 percent in the first quarter. However, the full percentage point rise in the saving rate since December signals increased caution among consumers, despite elevated consumer confidence. Decelerating corporate profit growth, commonly seen in the late stages of an expansion, presents a challenge to business investment that is compounded by tax policy uncertainty. In addition, residential investment will likely contribute less to second half growth due to lackluster homebuilding activity and tight for-sale inventory that is restraining home sales. Consequently, se cond half growth is expected to slow slightly to 1.9 percent. Moderate growth is expected to continue in 2018, with potential changes to fiscal and monetary policy posing both upside and downside risks to the forecast.

“While second quarter growth is poised to rebound, we expect growth to moderate through the remainder of 2017. Consumer spending, traditionally the largest contributor to economic growth, is sluggish and is lagging positive consumer sentiment and solid hiring,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “While labor market slack continues to diminish, wage growth is not accelerating and inflation has moved further below the Fed’s target. These conditions support our call that the Fed will continue gradual monetary policy normalization, announce its balance sheet tapering policy in September, and wait until December for additional data, especially on inflation, before raising the fed funds rate for the third time this year.”

“Construction activity has lost some steam following the first quarter’s weather-driven boost,” Duncan continued. “Meanwhile, very lean inventory continues to act as a boon for home prices and a bane for affordability, particularly among potential first-time homeowners. According to our second quarter Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, lenders expect to ease credit standards further. However, we continue to project that the pace of growth in total home sales will slow to 3.3 percent this year, as we believe rapid home price gains amid scarce supply will remain a hurdle for potential homebuyers despite improvements in credit access.”

Visit the Economic & Strategic Research site at www.fanniemae.com to read the full July 2017 Economic Outlook, including the Economic Developments Commentary, Economic Forecast, Housing Forecast, and Multifamily Market Commentary. To receive e-mail updates with other housing market research from Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group, please click here.

By Matthew Classick | FNMA

Record Apartment Building-Boom Meets Reality: First CRE Decline Since The Great Recession

Even the Fed put commercial real estate on its financial-stability worry list.

No, the crane counters were not wrong. In 2017, the ongoing apartment building-boom in the US will set a new record: 346,000 new rental apartments in buildings with 50+ units are expected to hit the market.

How superlative is this? Deliveries in 2017 will be 21% above the prior record set in 2016, based on data going back to 1997, by Yardi Matrix, via Rent Café. And even 2015 had set a record. Between 1997 and 2006, so pre-Financial-Crisis, annual completions averaged 212,740 units; 2017 will be 63% higher!

These numbers do not include condos, though many condos are purchased by investors and show up on the rental market. And they do not include apartments in buildings with fewer than 50 units. This chart shows just how phenomenal the building boom of large apartment developments has been over the past few years:

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/US-Apartment-construction.png

The largest metros are experiencing the largest additions to the rental stock. The chart below shows the number of rental apartments to be delivered in those metros in 2017. But caution in over-interpreting the chart – the population sizes of the metros differ enormously.

The New York City metro includes Northern New Jersey, Central New Jersey, and White Plains and is by far the largest metro in the US. So the nearly 27,000 apartments it is adding this year cannot be compared to the 5,400 apartments for San Francisco (near the bottom of the list). The city of San Francisco is small (about 1/10th the size of New York City itself), and is relatively small even when part of the Bay Area is included.

Other metros on this list are vast, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth metro which includes the surrounding cities such as Plano. Driving through the area on I-35 East gives you a feel for just how vast the metro is. However, I walk across San Francisco in less than two hours:

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/US-Apartment-construction-by-city-metro-2017_0.png

Special note: Chicago is adding 7,800 apartments even though the population has begun to shrink. So this isn’t necessarily going to work out.

This building boom of large apartment buildings is starting to have an impact on rents. In nearly all of the 12 most expensive rental markets, median asking rents have fallen from their peaks, and in several markets by the double digits, including Chicago (-19%!), Honolulu, San Francisco, and New York City.

And it has an impact on the prices of these buildings. Apartments are a big part of commercial real estate. They’re highly leveraged. Government Sponsored Enterprises such as Fanny Mae guarantee commercial mortgages on apartment buildings and package them in Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities. So taxpayers are on the hook. Banks are on the hook too.

This is big business. And it is now doing something it hasn’t done since the Great Recession. The Commercial Property Price Index (CPPI) by Green Street, which tracks the “prices at which commercial real estate transactions are currently being negotiated and contracted,” plateaued briefly in December through February and then started to decline. By June, it was below where it had been in June 2016 – the first year-over-year decline since the Great Recession:

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/US-Commercial-Property-Index-GreenStreet-2017-06_0.png

Some segments in the CPPI were up, notably industrial, which rose 9% year over year, benefiting from the shift to ecommerce, which entails a massive need for warehouses by Amazon [Is Amazon Eating UPS’s Lunch?] and other companies delivering goods to consumers.

But prices of mall properties fell 5%, prices of strip retail fell 4%, and prices of apartment buildings fell 3% year-over-year.

So for renters, there is some relief on the horizon, or already at hand – depending on the market. There’s nothing like an apartment glut to bring down rents. See what the oil glut in the US has done to the price of oil.

Investors in apartment buildings, lenders, and taxpayers (via Fannie Mae et al. that guarantee commercial mortgage-backed securities), however, face a treacherous road. Commercial real estate goes in cycles as the above chart shows. Those cycles are not benign. Plateaus don’t last long. And declines can be just as sharp, or sharper, than the surges, and the surges were breath-taking.

Even the Fed has put commercial real estate on its financial-stability worry list and has been tightening monetary policy in part to tamp down on the multi-year price surge. The Fed is worried about the banks, particularly the smaller banks that are heavily exposed to CRE loans and dropping collateral values.

But the new supply of apartment units hitting the market in 2018 and 2019 will even be larger. In Seattle, for example, there are 67,507 new apartment units in the pipeline.

Source: ZeroHedge