Keepin' It Real 

Economics, Housing, & Commercial Real Estate Analysis

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  • Alex Pettee, CFA

Shutdown Redux? | Tech Rebound | Mortgage Rates Dip

  • U.S. equity markets were mostly higher Wednesday as optimism around forthcoming vaccines continues to offset near-term concerns over the ongoing acceleration in coronavirus cases across the globe.

  • Following a decline of 0.1% yesterday, the S&P 500 finished higher by 0.8% but the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 23 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 surged 2.3%.

  • Real estate equities were mixed today as the broad-based Equity REIT ETF (VNQ) gained 0.3% with 10 of 18 property sectors in positive territory while Mortgage REITs (REM) dipped 2.5%.

  • The clock is ticking on the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States and globally, prompting a "third wave" of economic shutdowns in several hotspots around the country.

  • The U.S. housing industry shows few signs of cooling as mortgage rates hit fresh record lows last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications to purchase a single-family home remained higher by 16% from last year.

Real Estate Daily Recap

U.S. equity markets were mostly higher Wednesday as optimism around forthcoming vaccines continues to offset near-term concerns over the ongoing acceleration in coronavirus cases across the globe. Following a decline of 0.1% yesterday, the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) finished higher by 0.8% but the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) finished lower by 23 points. After lagging during the immediate "vaccine rally," technology stocks led the way today as the Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) jumped 2.3%. Real estate equities were mixed today as the broad-based Equity REIT ETF (VNQ) gained 0.3% with 10 of 18 property sectors in positive territory while the Mortgage REIT ETF (REM) dipped 2.5% following strong gains earlier this week.

The clock is ticking on the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States and globally, prompting a "third wave" of economic shutdowns in several hotspots around the country. These shutdowns follow the series of lockdowns that swept through Europe last month that has so far done little to slow the spread. After the shutdown-sensitive sectors surged following Pfizer's (PFE) announcement earlier this week, it was the "stay-at-home" winners the led the gains today as 6 of the 11 GICS equity sectors finished in positive territory today. Homebuilders and the broader Hoya Capital Housing Index delivered another strong day of gains as D.R. Horton (DHI) continued its post-earnings surge after posting blowout results yesterday morning with net order growth of a staggering 81% in Q4.

The U.S. housing industry shows few signs of cooling as the Mortgage Bankers Association reported this morning that mortgage applications to purchase a single-family home remained higher by 16% from last year while refinancing applications are now higher by 67% from last year. The 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate with conforming loan balances stands at 2.98%- an all-time MBA survey low. As discussed last week, we believe that the projected election outcomes bode well for a continuation of the "lower-for-longer" economic regime that should be a sustained tailwind for the housing sector.

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