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Lower mortgage rates fueling existing home sales

To understand why we had such a beat in sales, you only need to go back to Nov. 9, when mortgage rates started to fall from 7.37% to 5.99%.

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Existing home sales had a huge beat of estimates on Tuesday. This wasn’t shocking for people who follow how I track housing data. To understand why we had such a beat in sales, you only need to go back to Nov. 9, when mortgage rates started to fall from 7.37% to 5.99%.

During November, December and January, purchase application data trended positive, meaning we had many weeks of better-looking data. The weekly growth in purchase application data during those months stabilized housing sales to a historically low level.

For many years I have talked about how rare it is that existing home sales trend below 4 million. That is why the historic collapse in demand in 2022 was one for the record books. We understood why sales collapsed during COVID-19. However, that was primarily due to behavior changes, which meant sales were poised to return higher once behavior returned to normal.

In 2022, it was all about affordability as mortgage rates had a historical rise. Many people just didn’t want to sell their homes and move with a much higher total cost for housing, while first-time homebuyers had to deal with affordability issues.



Even though mortgage rates were falling in November and December, positive purchase application data takes 30-90 days to hit the sales data. So, as sales collapsed from 6.5 million to 4 million in the monthly sales data, it set a low bar for sales to grow. This is something I talked about yesterday on CNBC, to take this home sale in context to what happened before it. 

Because housing data and all economics are so violent lately, we created the weekly Housing Market Tracker, which is designed to look forward, not backward.

From NAR: Total existing-home sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – vaulted 14.5% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million in February. Year-over-year, sales fell 22.6% (down from 5.92 million in February 2022).




As we can see in the chart above, the bounce is very noticeable, but this is different than the COVID-19 lows and massive rebound in sales. Mortgage rates spiked from 5.99% to 7.10% this year, and that produced one month of negative forward-looking purchase application data, which takes about 30-90 days to hit the sales data.

So this report is too old and slow, but if you follow the tracker, you’re not slow. This is the wild housing action I have talked about for some time and why the Housing Market Tracker becomes helpful in understanding this data.

The last two weeks have had positive purchase application data as mortgage rates fell from 7.10% down to 6.55%; tomorrow, we will see if we can make a third positive week. One thing to remember about purchase application data since Nov. 9, 2022 is that it’s had a lot more positive data than harmful data. 

However, the one-month decline in purchase application data did bring us back to levels last seen in 1995 recently. So, the bar is so low we can trip over.



One of the reasons I took off the savagely unhealthy housing market label was that the days on the market are now above 30 days. I am not endorsing, nor will I ever, a housing market that has days on the market at teenager levels. A teenager level means one of two bad things are happening:

1. We have a massive credit boom in housing which will blow up in time because demand is booming, similar to the run-up in the housing bubble years.

2. We simply don’t have enough products for homebuyers, creating forced bidding in a low-inventory environment. 

Guess which one we had post 2020? Look at the purchase application data above — we never had a credit boom. Look at the Inventory data below. Even with the collapse in home sales and the first real rebound, total active listings are still below 1 million.

From NAR: Total housing inventory registered at the end of February was 980,000 units, identical to January & up 15.3% from one year ago (850,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down 10.3% from January but up from 1.7 months in February ’22. #NAREHS



However, with that said, the one data line that I love, love, love, the days on the market, is over 30 days again, and no longer a teenager like last year, when the housing market was savagely unhealthy.

From NAR: First-time buyers were responsible for 27% of sales in January; Individual investors purchased 18% of homes; All-cash sales accounted for 28% of transactions; Distressed sales represented 2% of sales; Properties typically remained on the market for 34 days.



Today’s existing home sales report was good: we saw a bounce in sales, as to be expected, and the days on the market are still over 30 days. When the Federal Reserve talks about a housing reset, they’re saying they did not like the bidding wars they saw last year, so the fact that price growth looks nothing like it was a year ago is a good thing.

Also, the days on market are on a level they might feel more comfortable in. And, in this report, we saw no signs of forced selling. I’ve always believed we would never see the forced selling we saw from 2005-2008, which was the worst part of the housing bubble crash years. The Federal Reserve also believes this to be the case because of the better credit standards we have in place since 2010. 

Case in point, the MBA‘s recent forbearance data shows that instead of forbearance skyrocketing higher, it’s collapsed. Remember, if you see a forbearance crash bro, hug them, they need it.

Today’s existing home sales report is backward looking as purchase application data did take a hit this year when mortgage rates spiked up to 7.10%. We all can agree now that even with a massive collapse in sales, the inventory data didn’t explode higher like many have predicted for over a decade now.

I have stressed that to understand the housing market, you need to understand how credit channels work post-2010. The 2005 bankruptcy reform laws and 2010 QM laws changed the landscape for housing economics in a way that even today I don’t believe people understand.

However, the housing market took its biggest shot ever in terms of affordability in 2022 and so far in 2023, and the American homeowner didn’t panic once. Even though this data is old, it shows the solid footing homeowners in America have, and how badly wrong the extremely bearish people in this country were about the state of the financial condition of the American homeowner.

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“What’s More Tragic Is Capitalism”: BLM Faces Bankruptcy As Founder Cullors Is Cut By Warner Bros

"What’s More Tragic Is Capitalism": BLM Faces Bankruptcy As Founder Cullors Is Cut By Warner Bros

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Two years…

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"What's More Tragic Is Capitalism": BLM Faces Bankruptcy As Founder Cullors Is Cut By Warner Bros

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Two years ago, I wrote columns about companies pouring money into Black Lives Matter to establish their bona fides as “antiracist” corporations. The money continued to flow despite serious questions raised about BLM’s management and accounting. Democratic prosecutors like New York Attorney General Letitia James showed little interest in these allegations even as James sought to disband the National Rifle Association (NRA) over similar allegations. At the same time, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors cashed in with companies like Warner Bros. eager to give her massive contracts to signal their own reformed status. It now appears that BLM is facing bankruptcy after burning through tens of millions and Warner Bros. cut ties with Cullors after the contract produced no — zero — new programming.

Some states belatedly investigated BLM as founders like Cullors seemed to scatter to the winds.

Gone are tens of millions of dollars, including millions spent on luxury mansions and windfalls for close associates of BLM leaders.

The usual suspects gathered around the activists like former Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias, who later removed himself from his “key role” as the scandals grew.

When questions were raised about the lack of accounting and questionable spending, BLM attacked critics as “white supremacists.”

Warner Bros. was one of the companies eager to grab its own piece of Cullors to signal its own anti-racist virtues.  It gave Cullors a lucrative contract to guide the company in the creation of both scripted and non-scripted content, focusing on reparations and other forms of social justice. It launched a publicity campaign for everyone to know that it established a “wide-ranging content partnership” with Cullors who would now help guide the massive corporation’s new programming. Calling Cullors “one of the most influential thought leaders in American public life,” Warner Bros. announced that she was going to create a wide array of new programming, including “but not limited to live-action scripted drama and comedy series; longform/event series; unscripted docuseries; animated programming for co-viewing among kids, young adults and families; and original digital content.”

Some are now wondering if Warner Bros. ever intended for this contract to produce anything other than a public relations pitch or whether Cullors took the money and ran without producing even a trailer for an actual product. Indeed, both explanations may be true.

Paying money to Cullors was likely viewed as a type of insurance to protect the company from accusations of racial insensitive. After all, the company was giving creative powers to a person who had no prior experience or demonstrated talent in the area. Yet, Cullors would be developing programming for one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world.

One can hardly blame Cullors despite criticizism by some on the left for going on a buying spree of luxury properties.

After all, Cullors was previously open about her lack of interest in working with “capitalist” elements. Nevertheless, BLM was run like a Trotskyite study group as the media and corporations poured in support and revenue.

It was glaringly ironic to see companies like Warner Bros. falling over each other to grab their own front person as the group continued boycotts of white-owned businesses. Indeed, if you did not want to be on the wrong end of one of those boycotts, you needed to get Cullors on your payroll.

Much has now changed as companies like Bud Light have been rocked by boycotts over what some view as heavy handed virtue signaling campaigns.

It was quite a change for Cullors and her BLM co-founder, who previously proclaimed “[we] are trained Marxists. We are super versed on, sort of, ideological theories.” She denounced capitalism as worse than COVID-19. Yet, companies like Lululemon rushed to find their own “social justice warrior” while selling leggings for $120 apiece.

When some began to raise questions about Cullors buying luxury homes, Facebook and Twitter censored them.

With increasing concerns over the loss of millions, Cullors eventually stepped down as executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, as others resigned.  At the same time, the New York Post was revealing that BLM Global Network transferred $6.3 million to Cullors’ spouse, Janaya Khan, and other Canadian activists to purchase a mansion in Toronto in 2021.

According to The Washington Examiner, BLM PAC and a Los Angeles-based jail reform group paid Cullors $20,000 a month. It also spent nearly $26,000 on meetings at a luxury Malibu beach resort in 2019. Reform LA Jails, chaired by Cullors, received $1.4 million, of which $205,000 went to the consulting firm owned by Cullors and her spouse, according to New York magazine.

Once again, while figures like James have spent huge amounts of money and effort to disband the NRA over such accounting and spending controversies, there has been only limited efforts directed against BLM in New York and most states.

Cullors once declared that “while the COVID-19 illness is tragic, what’s more tragic is capitalism.” These companies seem to be trying to prove her point. Yet, at least for Cullors, Warner Bros. fulfilled its slogan that this is all “The stuff that dreams are made of.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 05/28/2023 - 16:00

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Biden reaches ‘tentative’ US debt ceiling deal: Report

United States President Joe Biden has urged the United States Congress to “pass the agreement right away.“
Amid growing concerns…

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United States President Joe Biden has urged the United States Congress to “pass the agreement right away.“

Amid growing concerns of a potential default by early June, United States President Joe Biden and House majority leader Representative Kevin McCarthy have reportedly reached an “agreement in principle” to raise the federal government’s multitrillion-dollar debt ceiling.

According to a May 28 report from Reuters citing two sources familiar with the negotiations, the “tentative” agreement to raise the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling was reached after a 90-minute phone call between Biden and McCarthy on May 27.

Since publication time, Biden has confirmed via Twitter the existence of an “agreement in principle," explaining that it will prevent the U.S. from facing a “catastrophic default.“

Biden noted that “over the next day,” the agreement would go to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. He urged both chambers to “pass the agreement right away.“

Meanwhile, McCarthy also took to Twitter to confirm the agreement in principle, alleging that Biden “wasted time and refused to negotiate for months.“

Reuters reported that while “the exact details of the deal were not immediately available,” an agreement has been made to limit the U.S. government’s spending for the next two years, excluding expenses related to national security.

“Negotiators have agreed to cap non-defense discretionary spending at 2023 levels for one year and increase it by 1% in 2025,” a source familiar with the deal said.

Related: Debt ceiling crisis: Best practices to navigate this market

This comes only weeks after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned of a default risk as soon as June 1 if the debt limit isn’t suspended or raised, urging Congress to “act as soon as possible.“

Additionally, The U.S. Congressional Budget Office published a report on May 12, emphasizing that if the debt limit remains unchanged, there is a significant risk “that at some point in the first two weeks of June, the government will no longer be able to pay all of its obligations.“

In recent times, several analysts have shared a similar view that raising the debt ceiling could see more capital inflow into Bitcoin (BTC).

On May 17, MacroJack, a former Wall Street trader, warned his followers in a tweet that the U.S. debt ceiling talks are “all show.“

He emphasized how important it is to own hard assets as the dollar will be “printed into oblivion,” while stating that Bitcoin is the “fastest horse in the race.“

Meanwhile, Jesse Myers, chief operating officer of investment firm Onramp, reminded his 50,100 Twitter followers of what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that “Bitcoin was the winner during the last round of stimulus.“

He proposed the idea that history might repeat itself if the debt ceiling were to be raised, as it would prompt the Federal Reserve to print more money.

Update on May 28, 2023, at 03:15: This article has been updated to include United States President Joe Biden's tweet.

Magazine: Visa stablecoin plan, debt ceiling’s effect on Bitcoin price: Hodler’s Digest, April 23-29

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Biden reaches ‘tentative’ US debt ceiling deal: Report

United States President Joe Biden has urged both the United States House and Senate to "pass the agreement right away."
Amid growing…

Published

on

United States President Joe Biden has urged both the United States House and Senate to "pass the agreement right away."

Amid growing concerns of a potential default by early June, the United States President Joe Biden and Republican Kevin McCarthy have reportedly reached an "agreement in principle" to raise the federal government's multi-trillion dollar debt ceiling.

According to a May 28 report from Reuters, citing two sources familiar with the negotiations, the "tentative" agreement to raise the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling was reached after a 90-minute phone call between Biden and McCarthy on May 27.

Following the publication of this article, Biden has since confirmed via Twitter the existence of an "agreement in principle," explaining that it will prevent the U.S. facing a "catostrophic default."

Biden noted that "over the next day," the agreement will go the U.S. House and Senate. He urged both chambers to "pass the agreement right away."

Meanwhile, McCarthy also took to Twitter to confirm the agreement in principle, alleging that Biden "wasted time and refused to negiotate for months."

Reuters reported that while "the exact details of the deal were not immediately available," an agreement has been made to limit the U.S. government's spending for the next two years, excluding expenses related to national security. 

"Negotiators have agreed to cap non-defense discretionary spending at 2023 levels for one year and increase it by 1% in 2025" a source familiar with the deal said.

Related: Debt ceiling crisis: Best practices to navigate this market

This comes only weeks after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned of a default risk as soon as June 1 if the debt limit isn't suspended or raised, urging Congress to "act as soon as possible."

Additionally, The U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a report on May 12, emphasizing that if the debt limit remains unchanged, there is a significant risk "that at some point in the first two weeks of June, the government will no longer be able to pay all of its obligations."

In recent times, several analysts have shared a similiar view that raising the debt ceiling could see more capital inflow into Bitcoin (BTC)

MacroJack, a former Wall Street trader, warned his followers in a tweet on May 17 that the U.S. debt ceiling talks are "all show."

He emphasized how important it is to own hard assets as the dollar will be "printed into oblivion," while stating that Bitcoin is the "fastest horse in the race."

Meanwhile, Jesse Myers, chief operating officer of investment firm Onramp reminded his 50,100 Twitter followers of what happened during the Covid-19 Pandemic, stating that "Bitcoin was the winner during the last round of stimulus."

He proposed the idea that history might repeat itself if the debt ceiling were to be raised, as it would prompt the Federal Reserve to print more money.

Update on May 28, 2023, at 03:15: This article has been updated to include United States President Joe Biden's tweet.

Magazine: Visa stablecoin plan, debt ceiling’s effect on Bitcoin price: Hodler’s Digest, April 23-29

Read More

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