Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays to All!

K+B Delta Vee will publish again in the new year. Until then, all the best to you and yours this holiday season.

Somewhere Mr. Whipple Is Weeping with Joy

In New York City, Jennifer Cannon and Doy Nichols of Lexington, KY, are getting married today in a bathroom. (Insert your own unprintable joke here, as I did, and then shame on us all.)
The bride will wear a lovely gown made entirely out of Charmin toilet paper. No word on what the groom is wearinmg when he takes the plunge.
Proctor & Gamble, makers of Charmin, note that the couple is "flush with excitement" and that they will be honeymooning at Destination Kohler in Kohler, WI.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

November Building Permits Fell to 14-Year Low

Permits for new homes in November fell to a 14-year low, while single family housing start numbers dropped to the lowest point in 16 years, according to the Census Bureau.
The latest lump of coal finds a seasonally adjusted annualized start rate of 1.187 million homes in November, down 24.2% from the same month last year. Single family starts slumped to a rate of 829,000 units a year, down 34.9% from November, 2006.
Starts have slumped 47.6% from the pace in January, 2006, and the single family start rate has dipped 54.3% over that span.
Permits dipped to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.152 million during the month, down 24.6% from November, 2006. Single family permits fell 33.7% to 754,000 units per year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gloomy Paragraph of the Day

From the AP: "While the mortgage crisis has brought a rising wave of foreclosure notices into public view, less evident have been "pictures of people standing with furniture on the lawn" after being forcibly evicted from their homes, (Freddie Mac chairman and CEO Richard) Syron said. "As that begins to happen, and it will happen, I am afraid of the impact that this has."

NAR Sees Modest Turnaround in 2008

The National Association of Realtors says existing home sales are likely to total 5.67 million units this year, the fifth highest on record, rising 0.5% to 5.70 million in 2008. The 2008 figure will still be down 12.0% from 6.48 million in 2006. Existing-home prices should be down 1.9% to a median of $217,600 for all of 2007, and then rise 0.3% to $218,300 in 2008.
NAR says the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will rise slowly to the 6.4% range by the end of 2008. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth should be 2.1% in 2007, down from a 2.9% growth rate last year; GDP growth is forecast to improve to 2.4% in 2008.
The unemployment rate is likely to average 4.6% for 2007, unchanged from last year, but rise to 5.0% in 2008. Inflation-adjusted disposable personal income is estimated to grow 3.1% this year, the same as in 2006, and then grow 2.2% next year.

Monday, December 10, 2007

How the Mortgage Crisis Shapes Up

A sobering assessment from the Wall Street Journal: "As house prices fall and homeowners default on mortgages at troubling rates, the pain has spread far and wide. An examination of the resulting crisis shows that it is comparable to some of the biggest financial disasters of the past half-century.
So far, the potential losses look manageable compared with the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s and the tech-stock crash of 2000-02. But the housing debacle could yet take years to work out, thanks to the sheer complexity of it. Until the mess is cleaned up, investors will remain jittery and banks will likely hold back on all kinds of lending -- a credit crunch that is already damping global growth and could tip the U.S. economy into recession."

Friday, December 7, 2007

November Residential Construction Employment Down 2%

Employment in the residential construction field overall slipped 2.1% from October to November, with some 3.2 million workers employed during the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figure marked a 5.1% drop from levels in November, 2006.
Some 963,900 workers building residential units were employed in November, down 2.0% from October, while 2.2 million residential specialty trade contractors were employed, a 2.2% month-to-month drop.
For the economy as a whole, the unemployment rate held at 4.7%. Average hourly earnings increased just half a percent from October to November to $17.63; the mark was 1.8% higher than the same month last year.

Monday, December 3, 2007

More Than Half of Sub-Prime Borrowers Could Have Gotten Conventional Loans

The Wall Street Journal finds a study that says 55% of the borrowers in 2005 who got sub-prime mortgages could have qualified for more conventional mortages with better terms. In 2006, 61% did. "The analysis also raises pointed questions about the practices of major mortgage lenders. Many borrowers whose credit scores might have qualified them for more conventional loans say they were pushed into risky subprime loans. They say lenders or brokers aggressively marketed the loans, offering easier and faster approvals -- and playing down or hiding the onerous price paid over the long haul in higher interest rates or stricter repayment terms," says the Journal.
In other news, Lennar Homes has sold $1.3 billion in land to Morgan Stanley for 40 cents on the dollar.