Housing Just OK: Existing Home Sales, Construction, Lending

Here are today’s and yesterday’s Fundamentals:

Mortgage Applications (week ended 3/16)
-Purchase Index (week/week) -1.0%

-Refinance Index (week/week) -9.3%

-Composite Index (week/week) -7.4%

-The refinance index is no surprise with the sharp upward move in rates in the past couple of weeks. The purchase index indicates that the housing market is still weak.

Existing Home Sales (February)
-Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate 4,590,000. Previous was adjusted from 4,570,000 to 4,630,000.

-Month/Month Change -0.9%

-Year/Year Change +8.8%

-The good news is that things are better than they were a year ago.

-The bad news is that they are no better than they were a month ago.

-Median price of existing homes: $156,600

-Distressed sales were 34% of sales (20% foreclosures, 14% short sales)

-Total housing inventory up 4.3% to 2.43m, a 6.4-month supply. Down 19.3% from year ago

-18% of Realtors report delays in closing

-31% of Realtors report cancelled contracts

Full report

Housing Starts (February)
-Housing Starts measure construction in units: a 20 unit apartment building is 20 starts

-Housing Starts 698k seasonally adjusted, annualized. Jan revised from 699k to 706k.

-Construction (measured by Starts) down 1.1% in February (but note January revision above)

-Nice improving trend but chart below shows we’ve got a long way to go

-Need to be at 1.5m to keep pace with population growth, scrappage

-Single family starts down 9.86% from 507k Jan to 457k Feb

-Multifamily home constructions up 21.1% from 199k Jan to 241k Feb

-Building permits 717k seasonally adjusted, annualized vs. 682k Jan

-Again because of good weather, seasonal adjustments may be inflating the data.

Retail

ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (seek ended 3/17)
– Store Sales (week/week) +0.9%. Previous was +0.7%.

Redbook
– Store Sales +3.6%. Previous was +3.3%.