The Real Estate Channel

Secular Trends in Residential Building Permits and Housing Starts

Over the long haul the two series offer a compelling study of trends in residential real estate. Here is an overlay of the two series since the 1959 inception of the Starts data and the Permits data, which began being tracked a year later. The monthly data points are preserved as faint dots. The trends are illustrated with 6-month moving averages of data divided by the Census Bureau's mid-month population estimates.

Existing-Home Sales: Fourth Consecutive Decline in August

This morning's release of the August Existing-Home Sales decreased from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million units. The consensus was for 5.46 million. The latest number represents a 1.7% decrease from the previous month and a 0.2% increase year-over-year.

The German Election and Markets

What might the German election mean for markets?

Are Diversifying Assets Up Next in the Return-Seeking Cycle?

After a sustained period of return leadership by U.S. stocks, a number of diversifying assets now appear poised for outperformance.

New Residential Housing Starts Down in Again in August

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for August new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.180M was above the forecast of 1.175M and a decrease from the previous month's upwardly revised 1.190M.

New Residential Building Permits: August Permits Bounce Back

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for August new residential building permits. The latest reading of 1.300M was an increase from 1.230M in July and above the forecast of 1.220M.

Weighing the Week Ahead: Will a More Aggressive Fed Spark the Long-Awaited Correction?

We have a light calendar for economic data. The week’s focus will be the FOMC policy announcement on Wednesday. Given the resilience of the market rally in the face of various natural and human threats, the punditry will turn to a favored topic. Expect people to be asking: Will the Fed be the catalyst for a market correction?

Is Value Investing Past Its Prime?

Value stocks have underperformed most other styles of investing, as well as the broad market, by a wide margin since the beginning of 2015. We see several reasons why, which point to the catalysts for a potential recovery; we do not think Value is past its prime.

NAHB Housing Market Index: "Builder Confidence Drops as Hurricanes Add Uncertainty"

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) is a gauge of builder opinion on the relative level of current and future single-family home sales. It is a diffusion index, which means that a reading above 50 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales; below 50 indicates a negative outlook. The latest reading of 64, down 3 from last month's revised number, came in below the forecast of 67.

World Leaders are Taking Investors Down a Dangerous Economic Path

Stock market performance has not been driven by the improving health of the global economy. Just as negative interest rates are not a positive for the continued health of the economy, current stock market performance does not augur rosy future returns for stocks. In fact, the opposite is true.

Pension Storm Warning

Elected officials at all levels have promised workers they will receive pension benefits without taking the hard steps necessary to deliver on those promises. This situation will end badly and hurt many people. Unfortunately, massive snafus like this rarely hurt the politicians who made those overly optimistic promises, often years ago.

Opportunities in U.S. Commercial Real Estate Debt Investing

Unmet borrower needs continue to grow in the U.S. commercial real estate lending market.

Disconnected Defensives

Co-CIO Francis Gannon sizes up the small-cap market, which looks primed for a leadership shift to cyclicals.

Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season: The Aftermath of "Harma"

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by Harvey and now Irma. I did little over the weekend except sit glued to the TV watching Hurricane Irma coverage. That's because I have a home in Naples, FL, on one of the southern intercoastal waterways.

The Future of the Global Economy

This letter will be the first of a series in which I outline my vision for the next 5–10–15–20 years of global economics. I understand that there is a substantial amount of hubris involved in such an undertaking, so I will approach the topic gingerly.