Friday Market Update: August 18th 2023

Is the U.S. Experiencing Recession Like Conditions?

Happy Friday, Brian Manning here with the weekly update! Let’s get right to it. Let’s see.

So Monday this week was a relatively quiet newsday, not a lot to talk about there. Tuesday, we got retail sales, retail sales were for the month of July, they came back higher than expected up seven tenths of a percent. You know, at first look, retail sales look really strong. But there’s a lot in there for what’s called seasonal adjustments. That’s when they add in these adjustments based on the season that we’re in. But if you actually looked at the raw data, so if you’d pulled out the seasonal adjustments, retail sales were actually lower than expected. And the leaders in retail sales were online spending, restaurants and bars. So clearly, people are still spending money on places like Amazon, and going out for dinner and still having fun.

What’s also interesting is there’s more data coming out on credit card debt. So credit card debt is at $1 trillion, the highest it’s ever been in the US. If you are a person that is thinking about what to do with your credit card debt, give me a call, we can look at doing a cash out refinance, it definitely could make sense, even if you’re in a really low interest rate for your mortgage to pull cash out to pay off these really high interest rate credit cards. So if you have any questions there, give me a call.

Tuesday, we also got the Case Freight shipping index. So this looks at the shipment of goods moving around the US. So if you buy a good on Amazon, and as it moves from, you know, the shipping center in California to Colorado, what does that look like on a month over month basis, it was down 1.2%. What’s also really important to know is that the cost of shipping on a year over year basis is down 17%. This is really important because this impacts inflation. Inflation, as we know is the enemy of interest rates. So as shipping costs come lower, we have to wait and see that translates into the consumer getting charged less for goods. But seeing the cost come down is really important and we’re really excited to see that.

Wednesday this week, we got single family housing starts. So this is starts across the country for the month of July. It was up 6.7% on a month over month basis and up 9.9% on a year over year basis. So good to see more single family housing starts. What, we have to look at though, and part of the challenge that we’re seeing, and this is why housing is staying resilient is that total completions were at 1.32 million for the year. So the the challenge we’re seeing there was that household formations this year are on track for 2.07 million.

So what that means is that when two people come together and share expenses that have a household household formation, well, if we’re on track for 1.3 million homes to be completed this year, and you have 2 million new households being formed on an annual basis right now, of housing formations and and new construction. There’s just a disconnect there where new construction and delivery of new new homes is not able to keep up with the household formations. That’s why one of the reasons why you’re seeing strength in the housing market, because population is growing, the demand is there. But the inventory is not there. As far as households are sorry, as far as new construction is concerned.

We also got the Fed minutes Fed minutes are never really helpful. I fact that I was thinking about this earlier, if you go back to all the Fed minutes, we receive Fed minutes or just kind of the minutes from their last meeting. It just seems like there’s a disconnect. You have some fed phony fed voting presidents that want to hike rates, some that don’t want to hike rates, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

You know, maybe the Federal Reserve, once they see the labor market start to cool at that point in time, they’ll think about the calming of interest rates, I’m not really sure it’s hard to really get a gauge on where they want to go. But that’s what the Fed has showed us today. Just you know, looking at the general news and information that’s out there just feels like there’s a lot of misinformation in the marketplace. If you look at what’s going on in the media channels, there’s just so much talk about the strength in the economy. CNBC this morning was talking about how there’s $500 billion in excess savings for us as consumers. But you know, the challenge of this news story this morning is that this is from March and then the Federal Reserve came out in June and they said that this was down to $190 billion. So right now the excess savings in the US is running off at over $100 billion a month. So if there was 500 billion in excess savings for us as consumers and the month of March, and we’re down to 190. That means by the end of September, this excess savings that people have will likely be burned through.

In addition, you also have student loans, you’re going to come back into play as in the month of October for repayment. So I’m not really sure the strength in the economy’s there with what they’re looking at. Also really good jobs, I think the jobs numbers are kind of overstated, right? Now, the reason why I say that is because one of the way they look at the jobs numbers is what’s called the birth death ratio. So they look at a prior month and they say, Hey, how many companies were opened, based on a new company that open what industry is in? And based on the industry that’s in how many people would they hire? And if a company went out of business, what industry is that company in that went out of business? And then how many people based on the industry that they’re in do they lay off? So there’s a lot of modeling there, and there’s also a lot of part time employment that’s been played into as far as the employment numbers are concerned. So I’m really not sure that the employment market is as strong as it seems, and I’m just curious to see if you’re gonna see some cooling there.

The fundamentals are there for us though. The fundamentals are there because inflation is coming down. When inflation comes down which you will tend to continue to see a softening inflation, mortgage rates will improve housing is staying strong, right? We’re not seeing a collapse in housing because there’s just purely an imbalance of supply and demand. So the fundamentals are there for us to continue to do really well, because housing always does well in recessions because mortgage rates come down.

I’m around all weekend. If you want to learn learn how we’re closing purchase transactions in 14 days, and how you compete with the cash offer. Give me a call. I’d love to help you.

Happy Friday. Hope you have a great day.



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