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Jun 14, 2019

Gerald Celente Video:Originally Published on Jun 7, 2019 I Gerald Celente - More Monetary Methadone to Boost Global Markets

Mortgage rates | Mortgage rates are dropping — so why aren’t more people buying homes?

Jacob Passy



Home price appreciation is slowing. Consumer sentiment about the housing market is at a five-year high.
To cap it all off, mortgage rates have continually fallen throughout 2019 to date. Currently, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is averaging 3.82%, roughly a two-year low, according to Freddie Mac. So far this year, mortgage rates have only increased on a weekly basis six times.
Historically, that’s been a recipe for a home-buying frenzy. “We are in an extremely interest-rate-sensitive housing market,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of market economics at Auction.com.
In the past, home buying activity has gone up when rates have gone down, and vice versa. “There’s a lot of hopefulness that cycle will repeat in 2019,” Blomquist said.
Don’t miss: With mortgage rates at 2-year lows, here’s how to decide whether to refinance your home loan
And yet, consumers haven’t shown much interest in buying homes these days. Last week, mortgage applications for home purchases only rose 10% from the previous week, despite mortgage rates being at a two-year low. And the week before that, mortgage applications for home purchases actually dropped by 2%, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The most recent data for home sales isn’t much more positive. Pending home sales fell for the 16th consecutive month in April, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Economists had predicted a 0.5% increase; instead sales dropped by a seasonally adjusted 1.5%.
So why haven’t home sales rebounded? Here’s what housing market experts had to say:
Move-up buyers are facing a ‘triple whammy’
In recent years, some have suggested that there could be a large swath of homeowners who were “rate-locked.” The argument goes that many people who already own their homes are sitting on extremely low interest rates — and the higher mortgage rates that were the norm throughout much of last year acted as a deterrent keeping them from shopping for a new house.
If that were broadly true, though, you would expect home sales to rev up more than they have. “Rates are clearly not the only factor people consider,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.
(Realtor.com is operated by News Corp NWSA, -0.04%   subsidiary Move Inc., and MarketWatch is a unit of Dow Jones, which is also a subsidiary of News Corp.)
Interest rates are just one piece of the puzzle for move-up buyers, those who already own a home and are looking to buy a larger or otherwise more expensive property. While the pace of price appreciation has slowed, home prices are nevertheless at all-time highs across many housing markets nationwide, offsetting the savings a move-up buyer could expect thanks to today’s interest rates. (Not to mention that many of today’s homeowners who bought their homes after the housing crisis have even lower mortgage rates than what’s on offer today.)
Making affordability matters worse, inventory remains quite constrained except at the luxury end of the market. As a result, move-up buyers have few options of properties to move to and will face more competition for homes, which can raise prices.
And then there is the fallout from the recent changes to the tax code. Current homeowners are grandfathered into the previous mortgage interest deduction, which is higher than what consumers can get nowadays. Plus, would-be move-up buyers may be wary of higher property taxes, now that the deduction for state and local taxes has been capped.
“You’re facing a triple-whammy right now,” said Rick Sharga, a mortgage industry veteran and CEO of CJ Patrick Company, a real-estate and financial services consulting firm. “A lot of the financial incentives that a move-up buyer would have had a couple years ago no longer exist.”
Read more: Trump’s trade war with China is the last thing an already unsteady U.S. housing market needs right now
First-time home buyers have nowhere to go
In many ways, first-time home buyers stand to benefit most from today’s lower mortgage rates because of the real savings they represent.
B

Mortgage rates are dropping — so why aren’t more people buying homes?

Jacob Passy

Home price appreciation is slowing. Consumer sentiment about the housing market is at a five-year high.
To cap it all off, mortgage rates have continually fallen throughout 2019 to date. Currently, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is averaging 3.82%, roughly a two-year low, according to Freddie Mac. So far this year, mortgage rates have only increased on a weekly basis six times.
Historically, that’s been a recipe for a home-buying frenzy. “We are in an extremely interest-rate-sensitive housing market,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of market economics at Auction.com.
In the past, home buying activity has gone up when rates have gone down, and vice versa. “There’s a lot of hopefulness that cycle will repeat in 2019,” Blomquist said.
Don’t miss: With mortgage rates at 2-year lows, here’s how to decide whether to refinance your home loan
And yet, consumers haven’t shown much interest in buying homes these days. Last week, mortgage applications for home purchases only rose 10% from the previous week, despite mortgage rates being at a two-year low. And the week before that, mortgage applications for home purchases actually dropped by 2%, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The most recent data for home sales isn’t much more positive. Pending home sales fell for the 16th consecutive month in April, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Economists had predicted a 0.5% increase; instead sales dropped by a seasonally adjusted 1.5%.
So why haven’t home sales rebounded? Here’s what housing market experts had to say:
Move-up buyers are facing a ‘triple whammy’
In recent years, some have suggested that there could be a large swath of homeowners who were “rate-locked.” The argument goes that many people who already own their homes are sitting on extremely low interest rates — and the higher mortgage rates that were the norm throughout much of last year acted as a deterrent keeping them from shopping for a new house.
If that were broadly true, though, you would expect home sales to rev up more than they have. “Rates are clearly not the only factor people consider,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.
(Realtor.com is operated by News Corp NWSA, -0.04%   subsidiary Move Inc., and MarketWatch is a unit of Dow Jones, which is also a subsidiary of News Corp.)
Interest rates are just one piece of the puzzle for move-up buyers, those who already own a home and are looking to buy a larger or otherwise more expensive property. While the pace of price appreciation has slowed, home prices are nevertheless at all-time highs across many housing markets nationwide, offsetting the savings a move-up buyer could expect thanks to today’s interest rates. (Not to mention that many of today’s homeowners who bought their homes after the housing crisis have even lower mortgage rates than what’s on offer today.)
Making affordability matters worse, inventory remains quite constrained except at the luxury end of the market. As a result, move-up buyers have few options of properties to move to and will face more competition for homes, which can raise prices.
And then there is the fallout from the recent changes to the tax code. Current homeowners are grandfathered into the previous mortgage interest deduction, which is higher than what consumers can get nowadays. Plus, would-be move-up buyers may be wary of higher property taxes, now that the deduction for state and local taxes has been capped.
“You’re facing a triple-whammy right now,” said Rick Sharga, a mortgage industry veteran and CEO of CJ Patrick Company, a real-estate and financial services consulting firm. “A lot of the financial incentives that a move-up buyer would have had a couple years ago no longer exist.”
Read more: Trump’s trade war with China is the last thing an already unsteady U.S. housing market needs right now
First-time home buyers have nowhere to go
In many ways, first-time home buyers stand to benefit most from today’s lower mortgage rates because of the real savings they represent.
Between May 2018 and May 2019, the median U.S. home listing price rose to $315,000 from $297,200, according to data from Realtor.com. But a homeowner who makes a 20% down payment could expect to spend nearly $45 less on monthly mortgage payments, for an annual savings of more than $500, thanks to today’s lower rates.
But lower-rates haven’t stirred up activity among existing homeowners. “If people aren’t moving up, that tier of housing they’re living in isn’t available to people who are starting out,” Sharga said.
Forecasts don’t provide much comfort
Real-estate buyers remain upbeat about what the rest of 2019 holds.
Throughout the year, there has been a substantial increase in investors purchasing homes at foreclosure auctions, Blomquist said. “These are typically folks who are going to flip homes,” he said. “And they are counting on the market to bounce back.”
Also see: Home flipping rate hits 9-year high — and that could foretell troubles in the housing market
Whether low interest rates will play a role remains to be seen though. Economists predict that the Federal Reserve will soon cut rates — mortgage rates follow the path of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.51%   — but that interest rate cut may already be baked into the mortgage rates currently on offer.
A lot also depends on the broader state of the economy and namely, whether the trade war will continue.
“It’s really difficult to forecast where rates are going to go right now because there’s so much uncertainty,” Hale said. “Anytime there’s a lot of uncertainty that just sets the market up for disappointment.”etween May 2018 and May 2019, the median U.S. home listing price rose to $315,000 from $297,200, according to data from Realtor.com. But a homeowner who makes a 20% down payment could expect to spend nearly $45 less on monthly mortgage payments, for an annual savings of more than $500, thanks to today’s lower rates.
But lower-rates haven’t stirred up activity among existing homeowners. “If people aren’t moving up, that tier of housing they’re living in isn’t available to people who are starting out,” Sharga said.
Forecasts don’t provide much comfort
Real-estate buyers remain upbeat about what the rest of 2019 holds.
Throughout the year, there has been a substantial increase in investors purchasing homes at foreclosure auctions, Blomquist said. “These are typically folks who are going to flip homes,” he said. “And they are counting on the market to bounce back.”
Also see: Home flipping rate hits 9-year high — and that could foretell troubles in the housing market
Whether low interest rates will play a role remains to be seen though. Economists predict that the Federal Reserve will soon cut rates — mortgage rates follow the path of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.51%   — but that interest rate cut may already be baked into the mortgage rates currently on offer.
A lot also depends on the broader state of the economy and namely, whether the trade war will continue.
“It’s really difficult to forecast where rates are going to go right now because there’s so much uncertainty,” Hale said. “Anytime there’s a lot of uncertainty that just sets the market up for disappointment.”

Business Conditions by Mark DeCambre | Bussiness conditions are at their worst level since the 2008 financial crisis, says Morgan Stanley

Mark DeCambre



The business environment is deteriorating — fast.
That is according to a gauge of business conditions tracked by Morgan Stanley, which said in a recent note that its proprietary Business Conditions Index, or MSBCI, fell 32 points last month, marking its sharpest collapse since the metric was formulated. The gauge touched its lowest point since the 2007-08 financial crisis. A separate composite business-condition index also fell by the most since 2008 and hit its lowest level since February of 2016.
Morgan Stanley’s report comes as stocks in June have mostly drifted higher in turbulent trading, with the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.58% entering correction territory on June 3, but gaining 6.3% since that point as of Friday morning trade, according to FactSet data.
Swirling anxiety around the U.S.’s trade relationship with China and other major international counterparts has hurt the confidence of business leaders because the unresolved tariff battles have made it difficult for corporate chieftains to develop business strategies and forced many companies to alter their supply chains.
Morgan Stanley said that its index also reflects an apparent slowdown in domestic jobs growth. Economists for the report, led by Ellen Zentner, wrote that the fall in business conditions is “consistent with the slowdown in gross hirings reflected in the latest employment report for May, and raising the risk that weakness in labor demand persists into next month’s report.”
Indeed, the U.S. created just 75,000 new jobs in May, well off consensus forecast for some 185,000 jobs created on the month, and potentially marking a significant change of momentum in what has been a pillar of strength in the domestic economy.
Morgan Stanley said that taken with other metrics that drill down deeper into financial conditions, “these indicators point to business expansion coming to a near halt in June.”
On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.23% the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.29% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.58% were headed lower as Broadcom AVGO, -6.39% lowered its guidance for the rest of the year after reporting second-quarter earnings Thursday afternoon. Other chip-sector stocks were lower on the news as well.

Source: MarketWatch

Jun 13, 2019

Politics I The Washington Post I Trump’s company sells California mansion to firm linked to Indonesian billionaire, a business partner

By Jonathan O'Connell 






The property at 809 North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, California, in a satellite image from Google Earth. The 5,400-square-foot mansion was recently sold. (Google Earth)

Jonathan O'Connell
Reporter covering economic development with a focus on commercial real estate and the Trump Organization

Alice Crites
Researcher and librarian who specializes in government and politics
President Trump’s company has quietly sold one of his last remaining properties in California — a 5,400-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion that county records show was purchased by a corporate entity linked to an Indonesian billionaire and Trump business partner.
A deed registered with L.A. County on May 31 shows that Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., signed the property over to Hillcrest Asia Ltd., a company registered in the British Virgin Islands. The price tag: $13.5 million, nearly double what Trump paid for the house when he bought it in 2007.
The purchaser address listed on the deed is a Beverly Hills condominium owned by a firm belonging to Hary Tanoesoedibjo, a billionaire media executive who ran for vice president of Indonesia in 2014.
He is Trump’s business partner on two projects in Indonesia — a resort on the island of Bali and a golf course and resort in the forests of West Java, south of the capital city of Jakarta. Tanoesoedibjo has said he expects that the projects will be worth more than $500 million when completed.
A woman reached by phone at the condominium, who declined to give her name, said she knew the family and had heard of the purchase but was not prepared to make a statement. Calls to other phones for the Tanoesoedibjo family were not returned.

Billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo, founder of MNC Group, poses for a photograph in Jakarta, Indonesia, in January 2017. A company owned by Tanoesoedibjo bought the Beverly Hills mansion the Trump Organization recently sold. (Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg News)
The Trump Organization did not respond to questions about the property, but Eric Trump, who is managing the company with Donald Trump Jr. while their father is in the White House, told the Real Deal Los Angeles website that “given my father’s presidency and our hectic schedules, our family has not had the chance to enjoy the property in recent years and it has seen minimal use. As such, it simply made sense to sell.” News of the sale was first reported by the Real Deal site.
Trump bought the property, at 809 North Canon Drive, for $7 million in 2007, according to L.A. County land records. The county assessed the property last year at $8.3 million.
From before he was president, Trump did not appear to use the house frequently — even when he visited Los Angeles. In those instances, he often stayed at the nearby Beverly Hills Hotel. The house did not appear to be rented out: in his financial disclosures, Trump said he never received income from it. Property taxes were $96,000 per year, L.A. County records show.
Trump briefly owned a second house on the same block, selling that property for $10.3 million in 2008, according to public records.
Trump still owns a golf club in nearby Rancho Palos Verdes.
His business dealings are drawing intense scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers and government ethics experts who say there is no effective check on people who would seek influence with the White House by spending money on Trump’s real estate.
Trump has sold other properties since entering office, including a warehouse in South Carolina, land in the Dominican Republic and condos in his Las Vegas hotel, according to his government disclosure forms and public records.
The U.S. Constitution bars the president from receiving gifts or payments from foreign leaders. Trump is fighting two federal lawsuits that claim he is running afoul of that prohibition by accepting business from foreign dignitaries at his hotels.
The $13.5 million sale price of the Beverly Hills mansion is likely to exacerbate ethics concerns. The property was sold off-market — meaning it was not listed for sale publicly — and Beverly Hills real estate experts said they were surprised at the high price.
The median home value in Beverly Hills has gone up from $2.3 million in early 2007 to $3.5 million this year, a 52 percent increase, according to analysis from Zillow. Trump sold his home for 93 percent more than he paid for it in 2007.
Trump “got a really good price,” said Luis Pezzini, the chief executive of Pezzini Luxury Homes in West Hollywood.
“Seems a little rich, to be perfectly frank,” Pezzini said. “Unless there’s something spectacular about this [house] that I’m missing.”
Pezzini said he had a listing nearby with a larger home and lot size — as well as a tennis court — and expected to get slightly less than the $13.5 million Trump received.
Tanoesoedibjo’s main business is media, as his MNC Group in Indonesia owns television stations and broadband businesses, but he also has finance and natural resources companies.
He and the Trump family know each other well, and beginning in 2015, he signed deals to partner with Trump on the two enormous projects in West Java and Bali, where he owns land.
Tanoesoedibjo attended Trump’s inauguration, posing for photos with Eric and Lara Trump at Trump’s D.C. hotel the day after the inauguration. He has said he has considered running for president in his country, with Trump as an inspiration.
Joshua Partlow in Washington and Rob Kuznia in Los Angeles contributed to this report 

FX I Currencies I CNBC I Dollar steady before Fed meeting, G20 summit

2 minutes




GS: Japanese yen being counted 
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Getty Images
The U.S. dollar was little changed against the euro on Thursday as investors were reluctant to take large positions before next weeks Federal Reserve meeting and the G20 summit in Japan later this month.
Tepid inflation and weakening economic data in the midst of a U.S.-China trade war has fed expectations that the Federal Reserve is close to cutting interest rates.
That has brought the U.S. dollar down from two-year highs reached in May, yet investors are reluctant to get too bearish on the greenback without further confirmation that rate cuts are near.
I think in order to see the dollar weaken further you need to see some follow through from the Fed on rate easing, said Mazen Issa, senior fx strategist at TD Securities in New York. The Fed is not widely expected to cut rates when it meets on June 18-19, though investors will watch for new signals that a cut may come in July.
Interest rate futures traders are pricing in a 21% chance of a cut in June, and an 85% likelihood of at least one cut in July. The other major catalyst for the dollar in the near term is whether the United States and China will renew trade negotiations at the G20 summit on June 28-29.
With international economic growth slowing, investors are also nervous that U.S. President Donald Trump is now considering tariffs on Japan and Europe. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that escalating trade tension pose risks that the eurozone could slip into a prolonged period of low growth.
The Australian dollar dropped on Thursday after a mixed set of local jobs data were taken as a green light for a rate cut as soon as July.

Source: CNBC

Bonds I Bonds Yield Report On Thursday 13, June 2019 I CNBC I US Treasury yields tick lower as jobless claims data add to economic concerns

Thomas Franck



U.S. government debt yields fell Thursday after President Donald Trump refused to set a timeline for levying tariffs on another $325 billion of Chinese goods and jobless data showed more Americans filing for unemployment benefits than expected.
At around 2:17 p.m. ET, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to price, was lower at 2.08%, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was down to around 2.597%.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s consumer price index data rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in May, while costs excluding volatile energy and food components also rose 0.1%.
Prices climbed 1.8% from the previous year while the so-called core gauge rose 2%, both falling short of economists’ expectations.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week and fostered mounting worries that the labor market is losing steam after job growth decelerated in May. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the week ended June 8, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The Treasury Department auctioned $16 billion in 30-year bonds at a high yield of 2.607%. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.32. Indirect bidders, which include major central banks, were awarded 60.8%. Direct bidders, which includes domestic money managers, bought 15.1%.

Source: CNBC