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Market Minute - June 1, 2018

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Housing/Real Estate Market
 
Commercial Property Prices at all-time highs - up 8.5% YoY, 23% higher than pre-recession peak. Real Capital Analytics / Wells Fargo Securities reported in its Q1 CRE Chartbook that solid economic growth is driving demand for commercial real estate, while rising interest rate impacts have had muted effects on values.  Prices increased over all property types particularly in apartments and industrial buildings. They predict that price appreciation should moderate in major gateway markets like Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, while picking up in secondary markets.

Home Purchase Sentiment Increases to All-Time High:
Fannie Mae reports that it's Home Purchase Sentiment index reached a new all-time high for the second month in a row – increasing .6 points to 92.3%. Consumers felt confident that it is a good time to sell, but the net share who think it's a good time to buy decreased leading to worries for repeat-purchasers.  Still, it remains at a very high level and demand is far less of a concern than supply at this point in the cycle.



Macro Economy

Small Business Optimism Remains High: The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) reports that small business optimism rose to its 2nd highest level in 45 years up 3 points to 107.8, driven by expectations of compensation, profits and sales, and overall economic conditions. Just like in May, owners (23%) cited difficulty of finding qualified workers as their biggest problem, beating taxes and regulations.

Consumer sentiment up: Consumer sentiment increased in the most recent University of Michigan survey. Overall, consumers are still very optimistic about finances and buying conditions. This owes to an increase in expectations about the future income and job prospects. The index increased to 99.3 a point above May's reading and 4 points higher than this time last year.

CPI Growth Accelerates, Remains in Fed Band:
As gas and oil prices have lifted off their lows, consumer prices have risen at a faster pace with a 0.2% increase in May with the gasoline index rising 1.7% equating to a 2.8% all-items annualized rate. Core CPI, which strips away food and energy, was up 0.2% last month or 2.1% annualized. These rates are roughly in line with the Fed’s broadcast target band, and as expected led to this weeks’ rate hike.

FOMC Schedules 25bps Rate Increase, As Expected
. Citing an upgraded “solid” growth assessment, job gains, declining unemployment, growth in household spending and business investment, the FOMC has carried on with its expected schedule of rate increase. The Board of Governors mentioned that overall inflation and inflation minus food and energy have remained close to 2%; while indications of long term inflation remain unchanged. The Fed will continue with its broadcast schedule of rate increases as long as economic growth and employment gains continue apace. Rates will certainly be hiked in September and probably December as well.

Firm Inflation Expectations, Unchanged for Year Ahead. Businesses surveyed by the Atlanta Fed’s Business Inflation Expectations Survey expressed beliefs that inflation will be unchanged at 2.1 percent over the year ahead. They believed that sales levels will remain “about normal,” with profit margins remaining steady, and year-over-year unit costs increasing somewhat to 2.0 percent, on average.

Producer Prices Rises: The uptick in producer prices last month is being pinned on oil as producer inflation edged up 0.5% in June. Final demand index rose 3.1% the largest YoY increase since 2012, with 60% of the rise attributable to prices in line with overall inflation expectations.

Retail Sales up in May,  April Also Revised Up: According to the Census Bureau, retail sales were up 0.8% for the month of May, up 5.9% year-over-year from 2017. The increase came from fuel, retail, and food service – sales minus gasoline were also up .7% for the month and 5% year-over-year.

National Industrial Production Down Slightly, up strongly in New York.
The Fed reports that Industrial production is down .1 percent in May after a .9 percent increase from April. The decline was largely driven by a drop in manufacturing production (.7%) caused by a fire at a major auto parts supplier. Meanwhile, the NY Fed Manufacturing Survey reports that general manufacturing business conditions rose 5 points to 25 for a strong May closing.

California Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at Record Low 4.2%: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that California added 5,500 jobs in May, marred by 14,400 who dropped out of the labor force. The unemployment rate remained flat at last month’s previous 4.2% low. California added 300,000 jobs year-over-year from last year up 1.8%. In general, this was an optimistic but mixed report. Jobs were added while more people dropped out of the labor force.

National Unemployment Claims Drop to 218,000
. Department of Labor reports initial claims decreased 4000 from last week’s figure. The four-week moving average of 224,500 is down slightly from last week. Low levels of claims indicate few layoffs and a strong labor and economic market.



Real Estate Finance

Freddie Mac Interest Rates Jump to Second Highest Levels of the Year;
Mortgage Applications Down Following FOMC rate hikes, mortgage rates jumped back to levels from April with Freddie reporting rates at 4.62% with a fee of 0.4 points. The 5-year ARM was at 3.83% with a fee of 0.3 points. Mortgage Bankers Association reported that May mortgage applications declined 5% year-over-year and down 4% from last month, reaching their lowest levels since December 2017.


  
Past Market Minutes  


June 8, 2018
- Home price index, corporate profits, interest rates
June 1, 2018 - Pending sales index, GDP, mortgage interest deductions
May 25, 2018 - New homes, manufacturing, Dodd Frank repeal
May 18, 2018 - Listings, unemployment, mortgage credit scores

May 11, 2018 - Inflation, consumer credit, loan delinquencies


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