Author Archives

  • Economy Continues to Slog Along: Fed Beige Book

    The Federal Reserve’s December Beige Book, which surveys national economic conditions, reports that for the January to early February period economic activity expanded at a “modest to moderate” pace. Consistent with other reporting, the Fed noted continued weakness at varied level in the residential real estate markets: The Richmond, Atlanta, and Chicago Districts reported a slight improvement in the level of recent activity, while Boston… Read More ›

  • January New Home Sales Maintain Late 2010 Trend

    The Census Bureau reported today that new homes sales  for January 2011 was at a seasonally adjusted, annual rate of 284,000 units, a decline of 12.6% from December 2010 but approximately equal to the sales rates of October and November of last year. The December 2010 new-home sales number appears to stand as a one month uptick that was due to certain building code… Read More ›

  • Declines in Short-Term Mortgage Delinquencies Continue: Mortgage Bankers

    Last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association released data for the fourth quarter of 2010 for the National Delinquency Survey. The results show continued high levels of mortgage loans in the foreclosure process but declines in delinquencies of loan payments.  Jay Brinkman, MBA’s Chief Economist stated: These latest delinquency numbers represent significant, across the board decreases in mortgage delinquency rates in… Read More ›

  • Small Decline for 55+ Housing Market Index

    The National Association of Home Builders’ 55+ Housing Market Index for single-family homes dropped three points to 14 from a year ago following annual declines in the second and third quarters of 2010. The 55+ single-family HMI measures builder sentiment based on current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for the 55+ single-family market. A number greater than… Read More ›

  • Research on Pent-Up Housing Demand

    There have been numerous estimates circulated of excess for-rent and for-sale housing supply, including one estimate of 3 million units by New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley. This inventory of mostly existing homes (inventories of new construction are at historical lows – the Census Bureau estimates 190,000 units as of December 2010, down from 572,000 units in June 2006)… Read More ›

  • CBO: Budget and Economic Outlook

    The state of the federal government’s finances is an important factor for the health of the nation’s housing markets. Federal fiscal policy can affect interest rates, if for example the government runs large fiscal deficits over a long period of time. Tax policies, necessary to pay for government spending, can also influence housing and small business decisions. With that in mind, the… Read More ›

  • Federal Reserve Survey Reports Continued Tight Lending Conditions

    The Federal Reserve’s January 2011 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices reports continued tight lending conditions by banks to businesses and households with little change from the last survey. The survey is based on responses from 57 domestic banks and 22 U.S. branches of foreign banks. With respect to commercial real estate lending, on net, 20 percent… Read More ›

  • Remodeling Market Index Edges Up: Big Projects & Calls for Bids Close to Break Even

    NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) edged up from 40.8 to 41.5 in the fourth quarter of 2010. RMI numbers below the “break-even” point of 50 mean that a preponderance of remodelers are telling us that things have slowed down since the previous quarter. In a declining market, we look for the RMI to get back up to 50 as an… Read More ›

  • State of the Union: Focus on Corporate Tax Reform

    President Obama identified a number of economic policy priorities in this week’s State of the Union Address. The speech presented a general theme of improving U.S. economic competiveness. The following observations highlight those portions of the address that pertain to the housing industry, as well as explain the difficulties in achieving revenue neutral corporate tax reform. The president endorsed the… Read More ›

  • Tax Reform Debate: Multifamily Focus

    The year 2011 will almost certainly witness a debate about the future of government spending and tax revenues. During the latter half of 2010, numerous groups, including the president’s deficit commission (the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform), presented plans that included proposed overhauls of the nation’s tax code. While the mortgage interest deduction and employer-provided health insurance exclusion… Read More ›