It was only a matter of time before, as we said last month, January's reported surge in New Home Sales soared by 10% to 468K (well above the 400K then expected) would be revised lower. This just happened, when moments ago the Census Bureau lowered the January number from 468K to 455K. But what's worse is that last month's seasonally abnormal print was obviously an aberration due to the law of small numbers (explained here in detail), February's print was even worse, printing at 440K, below the 445K expected, and the lowest monthly print since September. Then again looking at the chart below shows why 20K houses up or down is absolutely meaningless in the grand scheme of things, as New Home Sales is the one category that resolutely refuses to bounce from the Depression lows.
Yesterday's "better than expected" New Home sales served as the "good news" pre-market boost to send futures ramping higher once again, if not enough to cause a fresh all time high. Here is what really happened when one spreads the numbers, courtesy of Mark Hanson's housing blog. "If all of the 4 regions were in this morning's New Home Sales print were rounded down to the nearest thousand by the Census Bureau vs up, it would subtract 4k sales, or about 12%. Even with the massive January seasonal adjustments, this would result in a SAAR headline print of 428k, or flat YoY vs the up 10% reported. If only the South was flat YoY like the other regions, the same thing would occur. "
Advancements in Web 2.0 technology and the rising popularity of online dating should make it easier now – more than ever - to find "The One." So why, ConvergEx's Nick Colas asks, is the U.S. marriage rate still declining when technology is making the process of finding a mate so much more convenient and efficient? For one, cohabitation (both before marriage and instead of marriage) is increasingly popular. Also, there’s the urbanization trend which yields an influx of young, single professionals into major cities across the country; they’re apparently more focused on career than family. However, as Colas continues, falling marriage rates go hand-in-hand with a host of socio-economic issues, and the problem is exacerbated in those with lower levels of educational attainment. A continuation of this trend would undoubtedly have negative implications for society as a whole and further enhance the gap between rich and poor.
Not a word about soaring prices and higher rates that have pushed median-priced homes beyond the reach of hardworking Americans
Scratch one more bullish thesis for the housing recovery, and the economic recovery in general.
The death of the middle class in America has become so painfully obvious that now even the New York Times is doing stories about it. Millions of middle class jobs have disappeared, incomes are steadily decreasing, the rate of homeownership has declined for eight years in a row and U.S. consumers have accumulated record-setting levels of debt. Being independent is at the heart of what it means to be "middle class", and unfortunately the percentage of Americans that are able to take care of themselves without government assistance continues to decline. In fact, the percentage of Americans that are receiving government assistance is now at an all-time record high. This is not a good thing. Anyone that tries to tell you that the middle class is going to be "okay" simply has no idea what they are talking about. The following are 28 signs that the middle class is heading toward extinction...
For years, Bloomberg Businessweek notes, the American residential dream went something like this: Move to a city, work hard, and eventually you’ll make enough to move out. So perhaps it’s not surprising that today many of America’s largest metropolitan areas house their highest earners on the outskirts of town. Exactly where they live varies from city to city — or rather, from suburb to suburb. Perhaps this is what they mean by 'rotten to the core'?
Show this article to anyone that believes that the economy has actually improved in the last 5 years. On Tuesday evening, the President once again attempted to convince all of us that things have gotten better while he has been in the White House. He quoted a few figures, used some flowery language and made a whole bunch of new promises. And even though he has failed to follow through on his promises time after time, millions upon millions of Americans continue to believe him. To say that his credibility is "strained" would be a massive understatement. No, things have not been getting better in America. In fact, they continue to get even worse. The following are 32 statistics that Obama neglected to mention during the State of the Union address...
The President will do his best to put a positive spin on the current economic environment and the success of his policies to date when he gives his speech tonight. However, how you define the current environment may have much to do with where you fall in current income distribution. This was a point made by Mr. Boyer: "In 2012, the richest 10 percent of Americans earned their largest share of income since 1917, said Emmanuel Saez, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. Meanwhile, Census Bureau statistics showed that real average income among the poorest 20 percent of families continued to fall each year from 2009 to 2011." As with all things - it is the lens from which you view the world that defines what you see. In the end, it will be whether we choose to "see" the issues that currently weigh on economic prosperity and take action, or continue to look the other way. History is replete with examples of the demise of empires that have done the latter.
For the first time ever, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps.
The housing recovery is ultimately a story of the "real" employment situation. With roughly a quarter of the home buying cohort unemployed and living at home with their parents the option to buy simply is not available. The rest of that group are employed but at the lower end of the pay scale which pushes them to rent due to budgetary considerations and an inability to qualify for a mortgage. The optimism over the housing recovery has gotten well ahead of the underlying fundamentals. While the belief was that the Government, and Fed's, interventions would ignite the housing market creating a self-perpetuating recovery in the economy - it did not turn out that way. Instead, it led to a speculative rush into buying rental properties creating a temporary, and artificial, inventory suppression. While there are many hopes pinned on the housing recovery as a "driver" of economic growth in 2014 - the lack of recovery in the home ownership data suggests otherwise.
Following ongoing promises from the Fed that the Taper will continue at a pace of $10 billion per month come rain or shine, suddenly good news are critical for stocks, as the stock market is desperate for a strong economy to which Yellen can pass the baton. It did not get that with Friday's payrolls number so it was hoping for some good news in today's retail sales. And judging by the market response to the just released December retail sales, it got it, if only for now: headline December retail sales rose 0.2%, on expectation on a 0.1% increase even as auto sales tumbled -1.8%. Retail Sales ex autos rose 0.7% higher than the 0.4% expected, while ex autos and gas was up a more modest 0.6%, also better than the 0.3% expected. How is it possible that December retail sales according to the US government were better than expected, when every retailer has posted abysmal results? Well it seems the Census Bureau merely engaged in some recalendarization, with November numbers all revised substantially lower: headline down from 0.7% to 0.4%, ex autos 0.4% to 0.1%, and ex autos and gas from 0.6% to 0.3%. In other words, a complete wash with today's "beat." So when netting away the calendar effect of an early start to the holiday season, perhaps the only value added data in the retail sales report was the data involving Electronics and Appliance Stores.They posted the biggest 2 month drop in 2 years!
After Seven Lean Years, Part 1: US Residential Real Estate: The Present Position And Future ProspectsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/13/2014 10:24 -0400
In the last 8+ years, housing has proceeded through a cycle of bubble-bust-echo-bubble: now the echo bubble is crumbling, for all the same reasons the 2006-7 bubble burst: a prosperity based on asset bubbles and low interest rates is a phantom prosperity that cannot last.
Yesterday's chart of the day was the stunning prevalence of poverty in Greece, which soaring to 44%, up from 14% a year ago, was too mindboggling to even comment on. Today, courtesy of the Census Bureau, we get a glance at a just as disturbing aspect of poverty not in some country in depressed Europe, but in the US itself. The bad news: in the period from 2009 to 2011, 31.6% of Americans were in poverty for at least two months, "a 4.5 percentage point increase over the prerecession period of 2005 to 2007.