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SF Default Rates: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others, One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong

The Financial Accounts of the United States shows continued improvement in the aggregate home equity position of U.S. households. Household holdings of real estate, measured on a not seasonally adjusted basis, totaled $21.104 trillion in the first quarter of 2015, $1.092 trillion higher than its level, $20.012 trillion, in the first quarter of 2014. At the same time, home mortgage debt… Read More ›

Sales Regain Trajectory

April new home sales reversed the one month drop in March to an annualized level of 517,000 as reported by the Census Bureau and HUD. The 6.8% increase from March puts the level at slightly better than the first quarter average of 514,000 and much better (26%) than last year’s April level of 410,000. The new sales bounce back along… Read More ›

Housing Affordability Posts Solid Gain in First Quarter

Lower interest rates and home prices contributed to a solid boost in nationwide affordability in the first quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).  In all, 66.5 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median… Read More ›

Winter Slump Over

Builders increased building activity in April to a level not seen since November 2007. Total starts increased 20.2% from March to April to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.135 million. The increase was broad based with a 16.7% increase in single-family starts to a level of 733,000, the highest since January 2008, and multifamily (2 or more units in the… Read More ›

Builders Remain Careful

Builders’ confidence hesitated slightly in May as the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index dropped two points to 54. The April-May average remains at the same level as the first quarter average suggesting nothing has changed significantly for the first five months of 2015. Builders continue to express concern that consumers remain tentative on their judgement of present and future economic… Read More ›

The Impact of Oil Prices on Bank Lending or “Will the Tail Wag the Dog?”

The Federal Reserve Board recently released its survey of senior bank loan officers. The April 2015 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices (SLOOS) addressed changes in the standards and terms on, and demand for, bank loans to households and businesses and over the first quarter of 2015. A previous post discussed a special question on bank approval of residential… Read More ›

According to the Survey (SLOOS), Size Really Does Matter

In the April 2015 iteration of the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS), the Federal Reserve Board included a special question on residential real estate lending. That special question asked banks about how they had responded to new guidelines issued by the GSEs on November 20, 2014, on the definition of life-of-loan representation and warranty exclusions. These policies were designed,… Read More ›