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27 September 2016 Housing Market to Remain Fragile Deep into Next Year (Publication Centre)

The further decline in mortgage approvals in August shows that housing market activity remains very subdued. The recent fall in mortgage rates likely will prop up demand soon, but the poor outlook for households' real incomes suggests that both activity and prices will revive only modestly over the next year.

8 February 2018 Housing Market Wobble Highlights that the MPC Can't Hike Quickly (Publication Centre)

Markets expect the MPC to shelve November's guidance--that interest rates need to rise only twice in the next three years--at today's meeting.

22 February 2017 Easier lending standards to boost housing market? (Publication Centre)

Whatever today's report tells us about existing home sales in January, the underlying state of housing demand right now is unclear. The sales numbers lag mortgage applications by a few months, as our first chart shows, so they're usually the best place to start if you're pondering the near-term outlook for sales. But the applications data right now are suffering from two separate distortions, one pushing the numbers up and the other pushing them down. Both distortions should fade by the late spring, but in they meantime we'd hesitate to say we have a good idea what's really happening to demand.

27 September 2018 Mortgage Lending will Keep Trending Down as Brexit Nears (Publication Centre)

August's mortgage lending data from the trade body U.K. Finance provided more evidence that the pick-up in housing market activity in Q2 simply reflected a shift from Q1 due to the disruptive weather, rather than the emergence of a sustainable upward trend.

21 July. 2015 Easier Lending Standards Set to Lift Second Half Housing Activity (Publication Centre)

If the only things that mattered for the housing markets were the obvious factors--the strength of the labor market, and low mortgage rates--the sector would be booming. Activity is picking up, with new and existing home sales up by 23% and 9% year-over-year respectively in the three months to May, but the level of transactions volumes remains hugely depressed. At the peak, new home sales were sustained at an annualized rate of about 1½M, but May sales stood at only 546K. Adjusting for population growth, the long-run data suggests sales ought to be running at close to 1M.

18 July 2017 Rising Leverage will Prevent House Prices from Falling this year (Publication Centre)

The slowdown in households' real incomes has taken a swift toll on the housing market this year. Measures of house prices from Nationwide, Halifax, LSL and Rightmove essentially have flatlined since the end of 2016, following four years of rapid growth, as our first chart shows.

21 February 2018 Downside Risk for January Home Sales, but Expect a Decent Spring (Publication Centre)

Today's housing market data likely will look soft, but will probably not be representative of the underlying story, which remains quite positive.

7 August 2017 While we were Out... (Publication Centre)

...The Fed did nothing, surprising no-one; the labor market tightened further; the housing market tracked sideways; survey data mostly slipped a bit; and oil prices jumped nearly $4, briefly nudging above $50 for the first time since May.

12 September 2018 Mortgage Demand Spiked in August, but Expect a Weak Fall (Publication Centre)

The key piece of evidence supporting our view that housing market activity has peaked for this cycle is the softening trend--until recently--in applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase.

31 May. Are House Prices Near a Ceiling, or Just Temporarily Slowing? (Publication Centre)

Housing market activity has weakened sharply over the last two months. Indeed, figures this week likely will reveal that mortgage approvals plunged in April and that house price growth slowed in May. The increase in stamp duty for buy-to-let purchases at the start of April and Brexit risk, however, entirely explain the slowdown.

16 August 2018 China's Phoenix Property Market Heats... Will it Help GDP Growth (Publication Centre)

It has been clear for some months now that China's housing market is refusing to quit, and July's data showed the phoenix rising strongly from the ashes.

16 May 2018 Downside Risks to April Housing Construction, IP Looks Strong (Publication Centre)

We see downside risk to the housing starts numbers for April, due today. Our core view on housing market activity, both sales and construction activity, is that the next few months, through the summer, will be broadly flat-to-down.

8 February 2017 Housing Market Flagging Again as Income Squeeze Intensifies (Publication Centre)

The MPC's interest rate cut in August, and the continued willingness of banks to lend, bolstered the housing market immediately after the referendum. But the latest indicators suggest that the market is slowing again, as the financial pressures on households' incomes intensify.

22 May 2017 The Housing Market is Weakening, but Lasting Price Falls aren't Likely (Publication Centre)

Even the most bullish estate agent in Britain would struggle to put a positive spin on the latest housing market news. The latest levels of the official, Nationwide, and Halifax measures of house prices all are below their peaks.

22 Mar. Housing Market Revival Reflects More than Stamp Duty Increase (Publication Centre)

The recent revival in housing market activity reflects more than just a temporary boost provided by imminent tax changes. The current momentum in market activity and lending likely will fade later this year, but we think this will have more to do with looming interest rate rises than a lull in activity caused by a shift in the timing of home purchases.

10 August 2018 The Housing Market Still has a Faint Pulse (Publication Centre)

Surveys released over the last week have suggested that the housing market might be past the worst.

FINANCIAL TIMES - UK housing market stabilises after Brexit vote (Media Centre)

Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Mortgage Approvals

20 September. 2016 Homebuilders Need to Catch up to Rising Sales - Expect a Q4 Surge (Publication Centre)

The information available to date--which is still very incomplete--suggests that new housing construction will decline in the third quarter. This would be the second straight decline, following the 6.1% drop in Q2. We aren't expecting such a large fall in the third quarter, but it is nonetheless curious that housing investment--construction, in other words--is falling at a time when new home sales have risen sharply.

19 February 2018 Growth in Households' Spending Won't Recover This Year (Publication Centre)

Slower growth in households' spending was the main reason why the economy lost momentum last year.

19 February 2018 Colombia's Economy is Improving, but Fell Short of Expectations in Q4 (Publication Centre)

Colombia's GDP growth was a poor 1.6% year-over- year in Q4, down from 2.3% in Q3, despite the oil recovery and the COP's rebound since mid-year. GDP rose a modest 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, after a 0.8% increase in Q3.

21 September 2018 Recent Momentum in Retail Sales won't be Sustained (Publication Centre)

August's retail sales figures create a misleading impression that consumers can be relied upon to pull the economy through the next six months of heightened Brexit uncertainty unscathed.

20 September 2017 Is China set to Open Further its Financial Sector to Foreigners? (Publication Centre)

Bloomberg reported on Monday that the PBoC is drafting a package of reforms to give foreign investors greater access to the China's financial services sector. This could involve allowing foreign institutions to control their local joint ventures and raising the 25% ceiling on foreign ownership of Chinese banks.

20 October 2017 September Existing Home Sales Likely Fell, but the Outlook is Bright (Publication Centre)

Usually, we forecast existing home sales from the pending sales index, which captures sales at the point contracts are signed.

20 July 2018 Mortgage Lending Standards Tighten Again More to Come (Publication Centre)

The average FICO credit score for successful mortgage applicants has risen in each of the past four months.

20 December 2017 Single-Family Permits Hit a Cycle High, Q1 Construction Set to Jump (Publication Centre)

The single most important number in the housing construction report is single-family permits, because they lead starts by a month or two but are much less volatile.

20 June 2018 Existing Home Sales are Struggling May Activity Likely Dipped (Publication Centre)

Today brings more housing data, in the form of the May existing home sales numbers.

19 October 2018 Mortgage Lenders were Spooked by Higher Rates even Before Stocks Fell (Publication Centre)

Rising mortgage rates appear to have triggered the start, perhaps, of a tightening in lending standards, even before Treasury yields spiked this month and stock prices fell.

22 February 2018 Labour Market Wobble Should Instil Some Caution on the MPC (Publication Centre)

The stand-out news yesterday was the increase in the headline, three-month average, unemployment rate to 4.4% in December, from 4.3% in September.

19 January 2018 December Retail Sales Likely Reversed Most of November's Gain (Publication Centre)

December's retail sales figures, released today, likely will show that the surge in spending in November was driven merely by people undertaking Christmas shopping earlier than in past years, due to Black Friday.

20 September 2017 Expect a December Hike (Publication Centre)

The FOMC won't raise rates today, but we expect that the announcement of the start of balance sheet reduction will not be interrupted by Harvey and Irma.

25 Feb. 2016 Is Brexit as Likely as the Markets Seem to Think? (Publication Centre)

Sterling weakened further yesterday in response to the perception that the odds of the U.K. leaving the E.U. in the June referendum are rising. Cable fell to $1.39, its lowest level since March 2009. It is now $0.12 below the level one would anticipate from markets' expectations for short rates, as our chart of the week on page three shows.

31 October 2017 The Slowdown in Bank Lending will Gather Momentum Soon (Publication Centre)

Growth in the broad money supply slowed further in September, providing more evidence that the economy is losing momentum.

29 November 2017 The Profit Share in GDP is set to Fall Sharply as Wage Growth Picks up (Publication Centre)

It doesn'tt matter if third quarter GDP growth is revised up a couple of tenths in today's third estimate of the data, in line with the consensus forecast.

5 May 2017 Brazil's Industrial Output Dropped in March, but the Trend is Rising (Publication Centre)

Wednesday's Brazilian industrial production data were worse than we expected but the details were less alarming than the headline. Output slipped 1.8% month-to-month in March, the biggest fall since August 2015, setting a low starting point for Q2.

5 October 2017 ADP Confirms that Hurricanes hit Payrolls (Publication Centre)

The ADP employment report for September showed private payrolls rose by 135K, trivially better than we expected.

9 March 2017 ADP Report Raises the Chance of a Blockbuster February Jobs Number (Publication Centre)

We expected a consensus-beating ADP employment number for February, but the 298K leap was much better than our forecast, 210K. The error now becomes an input into our payroll model, shifting our estimate for tomorrow's official number to 250K; our initial forecast was 210K.

9 August. 2016 London Will Continue to Bear the Brunt of the Downturn (Publication Centre)

London has been the U.K.'s growth star for the last two decades. Between 1997 and 2014, yearover-year growth in nominal Gross Value Added averaged 5.4% in London, greatly exceeding the 4% rate across the rest of the country. Surveys since the referendum, however, indicate that the capital is at the sharp end of the post-referendum downturn.

27 September 2018 China's Macro Stance is Loosening is it Business as Usual (Publication Centre)

In yesterday's Monitor, we laid out how conditions last year were conducive to Chinese deleveraging, and how the debt ratio fell for the first time since the financial crisis.

27 September 2017 Yellen is Following the Tightening Labor Market, it's Telling her to Hike (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen's speech in Cleveland yesterday elaborated on the key themes from last week's FOMC meeting.

23 March 2017 Warm Weather Points to Upside Risk for February New Home Sales (Publication Centre)

New home sales are much more susceptible to weather effects -- in both directions -- than existing home sales. We have lifted our forecast for today's February numbers above the 575K pace implied by the mortgage applications data in recognition of the likely boost from the much warmer-than-usual temperatures.

22 Mar. 2016 The Upturn in Core Inflation is Real - Don't Focus on the Noise (Publication Centre)

We pointed out in yesterday's Monitor that Fed Chair Yellen appears to be putting a good deal of faith in the idea that the recent upturn in core inflation is temporary. She argued that "some" of the increase reflects "unusually high readings in categories that tend to be quite volatile without very much significance for inflation over time".

25 August. 2016 Weak Mortgage Approvals Point to Falling House Prices Ahead (Publication Centre)

July's mortgage approvals data from the BBA brought clear evidence that households have held off making major financial commitments as a result of the Brexit vote. Following a 5% month-to-month fall in June, approvals fell a further 5.3% in July, leaving them at their lowest level since January 2015 and down 19% year-over-year.

18 July 2018 Powell Says Everything's on Track Gradual Hike to Continue, "for now" (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Powell delivered no great surprises in his semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony yesterday, but he did hint, at least, at the idea that interest rates might at some point have to rise more quickly than shown in the current dot plot: "... the FOMC believes that - for now - the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate [our italics]."

25 May 2018 Aircraft Likely Drove up April Durable Goods Orders, Core Softer? (Publication Centre)

We see significant upside risk to today's headline durable goods orders numbers for April.

22 January 2018 China Growth Met Target Before Q4, Environmental Targets hit in Q4 (Publication Centre)

The China Daily ran an article entitled "Beijing, nation get breath of fresh air" on the day Chinese GDP figures were published last week, underlining where the authorities' priorities now lie.

15 August 2018 Soft July Headline Retail Sales Numbers will Hide a Solid Core (Publication Centre)

The first wave of domestic third quarter data crashes ashore this morning.

14 September 2018 MPC Emphasises Rising Downside Risks, Rather than Better GDP Data (Publication Centre)

The MPC surprised nobody yesterday by voting unanimously to keep Bank Rate at 0.75% and to maintain the stocks of gilt and corporate bond purchases at £435B and £10B, respectively.

14 October. 2016 Will the Supply of Homes for Sale Continue to Dwindle? (Publication Centre)

The number of existing homes for sale continued to fall in September, ensuring that modestly increasing demand is putting renewed upward pressure on prices.

15 December 2017 The Hawks Will Squawk Again Soon, but the Next Rate Hike is Still Distant (Publication Centre)

The MPC chose not to rock the boat yesterday, deferring any reappraisal of the economic outlook until its next meeting in early February.

18 April 2018 Patience is a Virtue in Eurozone Construction, the Trend is Decent (Publication Centre)

Today's economic data will add to the evidence that construction in the Eurozone slowed in the first quarter.

17 May 2017 Is Housing Activity set to Reach New Cycle Highs this Summer? (Publication Centre)

Last week, the MBA's measure of the volume of applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase rose 1.7%.

17 October 2018 Did FOMC Members Discuss Rising R-star at the September Meeting (Publication Centre)

The median of FOMC members' estimates of longer run nominal r-star--the rate which would maintain full employment and 2% inflation--nudged up by a tenth in September to 3.0%, implying real r-star of 1%.

23 Apr. 2015 More signs of life in the housing market - This time, for real? (Publication Centre)

New home sales performed better during the winter than any other indicator of economic activity. At least, we think they did. The mar gin of error in the monthly numbers is enormous, typically more than +/-15%.

11 November. 2016 Will the Housing Market Recovery Hit Affordability Buffers? (Publication Centre)

After wobbling immediately after the referendum, house prices appear to be back on a rising trajectory. The Halifax measure of house prices, which is based on the lenders' mortgage offers, rose by 1.4% month-to-month in October, following a 0.3% increase in September.

25 October 2018 Winter is Coming for the British Housing Market (Publication Centre)

Mortgage approvals by the main high street banks dropped to a five-month low of 38.5K in September, from 39.2K in August, according to trade body U.K.Finance.

25 July 2018 More Signs Today that Housing Market Activity is Peaking (Publication Centre)

New home sales surprised to the upside in May, rising 6.7% to 689K, a six-month high.

27 March 2018 The Housing Market Remains Fragile, Limiting the MPC's Options (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's figures from trade body U.K. Finance showed that January's pick-up in mortgage approvals was just a blip.

28 July 2017 The Downturn in Housing Market Activity has Further to Run (Publication Centre)

Equity prices for companies dependent on the U.K.'s residential property market tumbled yesterday as several companies reported poor results for the first half of 2017. Most companies blamed a decline in housing transactions for falling profits.

19 September 2017 Housing Takes a Modest Hurricane Hit, so far, More to Come? (Publication Centre)

The September NAHB survey, released yesterday, shows, that the housing market took a knock from the hurricanes but the damage, so far at least, appears to be contained.

21 September 2018 Housing Activity is Faltering, but the Modestly (Publication Centre)

The New York Fed tweeted yesterday that "Housing market fundamentals appear strong.

25 April 2018 Mortgage Demand Faltering in the Face of Higher Rates (Publication Centre)

Today brings new housing market data, in the form of the weekly applications numbers from the MBA. The weekly data are seasonally adjusted but are still very volatile, especially in the spring.

WALL STREET JOURNAL - U.S. Pending Home Sales Drop in December (Media Centre)

The U.S. housing market stumbled into 2015 as a leading indicator of home sales dipped in December

17 Dec. 2015 Why are Retail Sales Losing Momentum? (Publication Centre)

On the face of it, recent retail spending surveys have been puzzlingly weak in light of the pick-up in employment growth, still-robust real wage gains and renewed momentum in the housing market. We think those surveys are a genuine signal that retail sales growth is slowing, and expect today's official figures to surprise to the downside. But retail sales account for just one-third of household spending, and, in contrast to the early stages of the economic recovery, consumers now are prioritising spending on services rather than goods.

WALL STREET JOURNAL - Snow Weighs on Home-Builder Confidence, But It's No Polar Vortex (Media Centre)

"We know from last year's experience during the polar vortex, when the headline index fell 10 points, that the NAHB survey is extremely susceptible to severe weather, so we can't right now view it as a reliable indicator of the underlying trend in housing market activity," Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a note to clients.

10 April 2018 Don't Mistake the Jump in Halifax's HPI for an Improving Trend (Publication Centre)

Halifax's house price index rose by an eye catching 1.5% month-to-month in March, superficially suggesting that the housing market is reviving.

25 Jan. 2016 Will Housing Debt Concerns Resurface at the Bank? (Publication Centre)

Data this week look set to emphasise that heat is returning to the housing market, again. The Financial Policy Committee--FPC--still has additional tools it could deploy to cool housing demand. But the root cause of surging house prices remains very cheap debt. Alongside the inflation risk posed by the labour market, the case for the MPC to begin to raise interest rates to prevent a widespread debt problem is becoming compelling.

18 Apr. 2016 Housing Demand Picking Up - Home Sales Will Rise in Q2 (Publication Centre)

We are becoming increasingly convinced that momentum is starting to build in the housing market. That might sound odd in the context of the recent trends in both new and existing home sales, shown in our first chart, but what has our attention is upstream activity.

29 Apr. House Price Trend to Remain Firm, Despite Tax Hikes and Brexit Risk (Publication Centre)

Housing market data yesterday fostered the view that prices are vulnerable to a fall following April's increase in stamp duty--a transactions tax-- and before the E.U. referendum in June. Political uncertainty, however, has rarely had a pervasive or sustained impact on prices in the past.

25 September 2018 US Home Prices are Still Rising, but Momentum is Slowly Fading (Publication Centre)

In recent months we have argued that housing market activity has peaked for this cycle, with rising mortgage rates depressing the flow of mortgage applications.

9 May 2018 Is Down Now the Only Way for U.K. House Prices? (Publication Centre)

Britain's housing market appears to be going from bad to worse.

8 Oct. 2015 Flat Mortgage Demand Signals a Pause in the Housing Recovery (Publication Centre)

We planned to write today about the rebound in housing market activity over the past few months, arguing that it is about to run out of steam in the face of the recent flat trend in mortgage applications. The Mortgage Bankers Associations' purchase applications index rocketed in the spring, but then moved in a narrow range from mid-April through late September. Then, out of the blue, the MBA reported a 27% leap in applications in the week ended October 2, taking the index to its highest level in more than five years.

3 January 2017 Consumer Confidence Gains Overstate Spending (Publication Centre)

While we were out, the data showed that consumers' confidence has risen very sharply since the election, hitting 15-year highs, but actual spending has been less impressive and housing market activity appears poised for a marked slowdown.

26 June 2018 Low Inventory Still Lifting Home Prices Ignore So Case Shiller Data (Publication Centre)

Today brings more housing market data, in the form of the Case-Shiller home price report for April.

28 November. 2016 The Housing Slowdown Next Year Will be Offset by Fiscal Easing (Publication Centre)

We have been asked how we can justify raising our growth forecasts but at the same time arguing that the housing market is set to weaken quite dramatically, thanks to the clear downshift in mortgage applications in recent months. Applications peaked back in June, so this is not just a story about the post-election rise in mortgage rates.

29 Sept. 2015 Don't Believe Case-Shiller Home Price Data - Prices are Rising (Publication Centre)

Today's Case-Shiller report on existing home prices will likely show that August prices were little changed, month-to-month, for the fourth straight month. The slowdown in the pace of price gains since the first quarter, when price gains averaged 1.0% per month, has been startling. In all probability, though, the apparent stalling is a reflection of the quality of the data rather than the underlying reality in the housing market.

Ian Shepherdson

Ian Shepherdson's mission is to present complex economic ideas in a clear, understandable and actionable manner to financial market professionals. He has worked in and around financial markets for more than 20 years, developing a strong sense for what is important to investors, traders, salespeople and risk managers.

WALL STREET JOURNAL - U.S. Home-Builder Confidence Hits Near-Decade High (Media Centre)

Ian Shepherdson on positive data from U.S. Home-Builders

WALL STREET JOURNAL - U.S. Home-Builder Confidence Climbs in September, Industry Group Says (Media Centre)

Ian Shepherdson comments on US Home-builders data

Telegraph - House price growth jumps to highest since March despite weaker market post-Brexit vote (Media Centre)

Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on the U.K. Halifax House Price Index in December

TELEGRAPH - UK house prices slip as market feels a chill (Media Centre)

Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. House Prices

WALL STREET JOURNAL - U.S. Construction Spending Surges (Media Centre)

Ian Shepherdson comments on strong construction data

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