Keepin' It Real 

Economics, Housing, & Commercial Real Estate Analysis

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  • Alex Pettee, CFA

Weekly Review: Home Sales Not Yet Benefiting From Plunging Mortgage Rates

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  • On a busy week of housing data, homebuilders stumbled as New and Existing Home sales Data fell short of estimates, still feeling the effects of the 2018 slowdown.

  • Mortgage rates receded to the lowest level in 16 months, setting the stage for a recovery in home sales data if post-recession correlations hold. Forward-looking metrics paint an optimistic picture.

  • Feeling the effects of tax reform and the cap on SALT deductions, home sales in the relatively high-tax Northeast and West Census regions continue to lag the national averages.

  • REITs finished the week higher, as they have for 17 of the 21 weeks this year. The 10-year yield dipped to the lowest level since 2017 as trade concerns linger.

  • Residential REITs led the gains this week as rent growth has reaccelerated to the strongest rate since 2016. Counterintuitively, elevated equity valuations are just what REITs need to revive growth.

For the 17th time out of the 21 weeks of 2019, the REIT Indexes (VNQ and IYR) finished the week higher, continuing to feel the tailwinds of the retreat in benchmark interest rates. The 10-Year yield dipped to the lowest level since late 2017 as trade worries and the sudden reversal in crude oil prices has dragged inflation expectations to the lowest level in nearly two years. For now, the domestic-focused equity sectors - including real estate - are enjoying the benefits of these 'Goldilocks' condition of low global inflation and US-led economic growth. The S&P 500 (SPY) finished lower for the third straight week while the Nasdaq (QQQ) tumbled nearly 3%. The multinational-heavy Dow Jones (NYSEARCA:DIA) finished lower for the fifth straight week, the worst such streak since 2017.


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