With soaring mortgage rates and plunging mortgage applications, it should be no surprise that new home sales crashed in December. Analysts expected a modest 0.7% decline but sales crashed 10.4% - the most since March 2015 - and at 536k SAAR, this is the lowest since Feb 2016.
Unfortunately, at least for those of us that prefer not to day trade our primary residence, America's home flippers are making a big come back in 2016 with home flips accounted for 6.1% of all U.S. home sales, the highest share since 2006 when flips accounted for 7.3% of sales.
"While a lack of listings and fast rising home prices was a headwind all year, the surge in rates since early November ultimately caught some prospective buyers off guard and dimmed their appetite or ability to buy a home as 2016 came to an end."
In a move that has sparked controversy among some economists, within an hour of being sworn in, Trump undid one of Barack Obama’s last-minute actions, a mortgage-fee cut under a government program catering to first-time home buyers and low-income borrowers.
At least two major Chinese private providers of home price data have stopped publishing the figures, at a time when China's housing bubble appears to be bursting. "Housing prices are an extremely sensitive matter right now."
European and Asian shares, and S&P futures slipped, while government bond yields jumped to multi-week highs on Thursday after Yellen's hawkish speech. Oil rose after API reported a drop in crude inventories. The euro rebounded as investors look to Mario Draghi to address rising European inflation that make the ECB's stimulative policies look increasingly out of sync.
Today we got the first confirmation that the latest Chinese housing bubble has finally popped, as housing prices across the 70 cities were up 12.7% Y/Y, below the 12.9% annual growth rate in November. This was the first moderation in year-over-year housing price growth after 19 months of continued acceleration.
European shares decline led by a plunge in Pearson shares, S&P futures were modestly in the green as Asian and EM stocks gained. The dollar rebounded against most major currencies after retreating 1.3% on Tuesday to the lowest in a month following Trump's "strong dollar" comments and halted a seven-day drop against the yen. "Everything is just a partial reversal of the price action yesterday," RBC Capital Markets currency strategist Adam Cole said.
The week ahead will be a busy one, with a plethora of events including the Davos shindig, where particular focus will be on Chinese President Xi Jinping, the first Chinese president to attend. China will also announce GDP on Friday, which also marks the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th US president. Tuesday brings Theresa May's long-awaited Brexit speech.
Sterling fell, equities slid, Chinese markets got a helping government intervention hand again, and gold climbed over concerns U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is prepared to lead Britain out of the European Union’s single market and as the U.S. President-elect suggested other countries could break from the bloc.