Home Price Growth Accelerates To 5.9% YoY While Hourly Earnings Growth Is At 2.31% YoY (Seattle Leads Growth At 13.5%, DC And Chicago Last At 3.3%)

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.9% annual gain in July, up from 5.8% the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 5.2%, up from 4.9% the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.8% year-over-year gain, up from 5.6% the previous month.

Seattle, Portland, and Las Vegas reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In July, Seattle led the way with a 13.5% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with a 7.6% increase, and Las Vegas with a 7.4% increase. Twelve cities reported greater price increases in the year ending July 2017 versus the year ending June 2017.

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The SLOWEST growing cities? Washington DC and Chicago at 3.3% increase YoY.

The Case-Shiller 20-City home price index YoY is still 2.52 times hourly earnings growth for most workers.

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The Case-Shiller index is now at an all-time high!  Along with the S&P 500 index.

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US household equity holdings to GDP are back to bubble highs!!!

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Instead of tiny bubbles, we have big bubbles!

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Undun: US Treasury 30Y-5Y Curve Slope Falls To Lowest Level Since November 2007

The US Treasury yield curve slope for the 5Y-30Y segment is now at the lowest level since mid-November 2007.

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The 10 year Treasury note volatility index (TYVIX) is largely unchanged from The Fed’s unwind announcement on Wednesday at 2pm EST.

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The US Treasury curve is coming undun.

And that is pronouced UN-dun, not as is Kim Jong Un-dun (OON-dun).

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Broken Velocity: Yellen’s Low Inflation Quandary (Hint: FHFA Home Price Index Growing At 6.62% YoY)

Here is a brief summary of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s thoughts from yesterday courtesy of Deutsche Bank’s Peter Hooper: The Fed is on track to raise rates once more this year and three times in 2018. Yellen recognized that inflation has been running low recently, and that while there was some uncertainty around this performance, one-off factors that are not expected to persist, and which have not been associated with the performance of the broader economy, have been important. At the same time, Yellen noted that monetary policy operates with a lag and that labor market tightness will eventually push inflation up.

Inflation has been running low “recently”? Actually, “inflation” (defined as core personal consumption expenditure price growth YoY) has been below 2% since April 2012 and below 3% since July 1992. Notice that hourly wage growth for production and nonsupervisory employees has remained low as well, particularly since 2007.

Of course, home price increases have been far greater than the “inflation” rate used by The Fed. The recent FHFA Purchase-only home price index YoY (released this morning for June) has US home prices growing at 6.62% YoY while “inflation” is growing at a palty 1.40% YoY.

But nothing really seems to be working as expected by some. Expanding the M2 Money Supply was supposed to increase Real GDP, but that really hasn’t worked since the Reagan/Clinton recovery when M2 Money Supply growth dropped from over 12.5% YoY in 1983 to 0.1% YoY in April 1995 under President Clinton and Federal Reserve Chair Alan “Maestro” Greenspan. Robert Rubin was the Treasury Secretary.

Notice that M2 Money growth has almost always been higher than real GDP growth since 1995. Hence, M2 Money Velocity has mostly been declining since 1997.

What about the old model where additional Federal debt is okay as long as real GDP growth is greater than Federal debt growth? We are nearly at that point again after decades of rapid Federal debt growth with modest real GDP growth.

I am guessing that rather than raise rates next year, The Fed may be forced to expand their balance sheet … again. Giving more oxygen to the asset bubbles.

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As many Americans are forced to switch from exotic beers like Heineken to less expensive beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon. 

 

Existing Home Sales YoY Flat in August, Inventory Still Missing (Median Prices Up 5.6% YoY)

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales YoY were flat at +0.2% growth (while down 1.7% MoM from July to August). Hurricane season isn’t helping existing home sales.

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The median price of existing home sales YoY grew at 5.6%.

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Existing home sales inventory is still missing as in 1999-2001 levels.

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Let’s see what The Fed announces at 2pm regarding interest rates.

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Student Debt Delays Homebuying (32% Defaulted On or Forebore Their Student Debt)

The Student Loan Debt and Housing Report 2017 by the National Association of Realtors and the nonprofit group American Student Assistance shows that student debt delays household formation, home buying, and saving.

When 51% have student debt greater than $50,000, it will delay buying a home.

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And purchasing a car.

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Any wonder why real estate lending is trending downwards along with credit card and automotive loan growth?

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Here some predictable information from the report. Thirty-two percent of student loan borrowers surveyed had defaulted or forbore on their student loan debt while two-fifths of borrowers who had personal incomes of less than $25,000 in 2016 had defaulted or forbore on their student loan debt in the past.

Of course, Federal government policies and The Fed’s low interest rate policies have help create a monstrous growth in student loans … and tuitions.

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As I tell my students …

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1-Unit Housing Starts Struggle To Get Back To 1991 Levels (5+ Unit Start Back To Stable Levels)

The home construction numbers are out for August 2017. 1-unit starts rose 1.55% MoM while 5+ unit (multifamily) starts fell =5.83% MoM.

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Yes, 1-unit starts are finally back to 1991 levels. The Fed’s contribution to the housing bubble can be seen by their rapid rate cuts followed by rapid rate increases as housing construction boomed and then went bust.

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5+ unit (multifamily) starts fell MoM and are at same level of growth that existed from 1995 to 2007.

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BIS Hunts for ‘Missing’ Global Debt, Inflation (Try Including Housing!)

Just like global central banks, the Bank for International Settlements can’t seem to find inflation and $114 trillion in off-balance sheet FX derivatives.

ZURICH – Nonfinancial companies and other institutions outside of the U.S., excluding banks, may be sitting on as much as $14 trillion in “missing debt” held off their balance sheets through foreign-exchange derivatives, according to research published Sunday by the Bank for International Settlements.

These transactions, which resemble debt but for accounting purposes aren’t classified that way, aren’t new. Rather, researchers from the BIS — a consortium of central banks based in Basel, Switzerland — used global banking data and surveys to estimate the size of this debt for the first time.

The implications for financial stability are unclear because FX swaps are backed by cash collateral and can be used to hedge exposure to currency swings, thus promoting stability. Still, the debt “has to be repaid when due and this can raise risk,” the authors wrote.

According to the paper, published with the BIS’s quarterly update on global financial conditions, non-banks outside the U.S. owed roughly $13 trillion to 14 trillion through foreign-exchange swaps and forwards. That exceeds the nearly $10.7 trillion in dollar debt held on their balance sheets at the end of the first quarter

“Non-banks” include nonfinancial companies, households, governments, and certain financial institutions that aren’t classified as banks and international organizations.

Globally, there are $58 trillion in FX swaps and related exposures, BIS said, which equals about three-quarters of global gross domestic product.

The authors explained that “in an FX swap, two parties exchange two currencies spot and commit to reverse the exchange at some pre-agreed future date and price.” In a forward contract, parties agree to swap currencies at a future date and price. “Accounting conventions leave it mostly off-balance sheet, as a derivative, even though it is in effect a secured loan with principal to be repaid in full at maturity,” the paper noted.

This short-term funding is backed by cash and it carries little credit risk. “Even so, strains can arise,” the authors wrote, citing the funding squeeze experienced by European banks during the global financial crisis.

The BIS’s quarterly review didn’t just examine missing debt, it also examined what it called “missing inflation” in the global economy, which has helped spur risk taking and drove up financial asset values in recent months.

The implications are big for stock and bond markets that have moved largely in tandem, with bond yields staying super low while equity markets reached record highs. Whereas faster growth typically implies higher inflation and central bank rate increases, the prospect of significantly tighter monetary policy in the U.S. and other big economies has receded.

“This puts a premium on understanding the ‘missing inflation’, because inflation is the lodestar for central banks,” said BIS chief economist Claudio Borio.

Annual inflation in the U.S., measured by the price index for personal-consumption expenditures, was 1.4% in July. Annual eurozone inflation was 1.5% in August. Both are well below the 2% rate that most big central banks consider optimal. Economists typically cite sluggish wage growth, heightened global competition, low oil prices and the effects of technological changes as explanations for subdued price pressures.

“Despite subdued inflation in advanced economies, the global macro outlook was upbeat. Market commentators label such an environment the Goldilocks scenario — where the economy is ‘not too hot, not too cold, but just right,'” BIS said.

Still, there are risks if bond yields eventually start to rise on the back of firmer global growth, given the sensitivity of the private and public sectors to debt.

Thus, the absence of inflation “is the trillion dollar question that will define the global economy’s path in the years ahead and determine, in all probability, the future of current policy frameworks,” said Mr. Borio.

Dear Federal Reserve and BIS. Try including house prices which are growing at fantastic rates of growth.

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Tell folks in New Zealand and Australia that there is “no inflation.”

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The US almost looks tame in terms of housing pirces compared to Britain and its former colonies where housing prices are growing over twice as fast as wage growth for the majority of the population.

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New Zealand takes the cake for crazy housing prices, particularly in Auckland, their largest city.

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There BIS. We found your missing inflation. 

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