Moody's: Homebuilders will suck more wind

Not-so-happy thoughts from credit ratings group Moody's on the state of the residential construction sector: The current economic climate looks set to extinguish the embers of hope and push home prices down further and longer than previously expected.
"We expect that the industry's one relatively bright spot—that is, robust cash-flow generation—will keep fading in the year ahead, as inventory liquidation plays itself out and funds from operations remain negative," Snider said. Moody's base case calls for pre-impairment operating losses to worsen by 8% in 2009 and improve modestly, but still be in a loss position in 2010.
Oct 1, 2009 7:06 AM

Home price upswing: Seasonal or not?

Well, that depends on who's dissecting the new Case-Shiller numbers: Hedge fund manager Tom Brown says the housing bears need a new excuse.
...[S]equential monthly improvement in the index usually deteriorates seasonally in July. This month, though, the change in the rate of change rose by 18 bps. So instead of a seasonally monthly slowing, we’re seeing month-on-month acceleration.
CNBC's Diana Olick says the numbers are a lot closer to reality when they're seasonally adjusted.
whether we're in a housing boom or bust, home prices always rise in the spring/summer months, due to the type of buyer largely in the market. Families, i.e. move-up home buyers, looking to close and move over the summer so as not to disrupt school, dominate the market in the spring and summer. They are, for the most part, buying larger, more expensive homes, and they therefore skew the median home price in their market higher. In the fall and winter, you tend to see more first-time buyers as well as more single buyers who want smaller, lower-priced homes.
Stephen Stanley of RBS says focusing on seasonality doesn't matter too much; the improvements are simply a case of the market coming off the absolute bottom of early this year.
...[I]n retrospect, a rebound of some magnitude was likely as demand recovered from non-existent to merely weak.
Sep 29, 2009 2:25 PM

Nashville's hotel market still among nation's strongest

The latest round of statistics from Smith Travel Research shows Nashville's hotels saw their average daily rate fall 8 percent in the week from Sept. 13-19. That was the fourth-best number in the country and in line with numbers from earlier this year.
Sep 28, 2009 9:04 AM

Four years till the good ol' days

MTSU's David Penn says it will take the Middle Tennessee job market until 2014 to recreate all the jobs that have been lost during this recession. On the flip side, that creation should begin by the end of the year, Penn told Thursday's Economic Outlook Conference.
Sep 25, 2009 12:22 AM

A bump in the road to a housing recovery

Existing-home sales for August came in almost 5 percent short of analysts' expectations. Prices nationally are down about 12 percent from a year ago, but the real test for the housing market will come soon enough.
“The improvement in the housing market is not going to be a smooth rise, but a choppy, upward trend,” said Zach Pandl, an economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York, who projected sales would fall. “The real test will be if the market can weather the end of government stimulus.”
SEE ALSO: Just a blip? Why housing keeps bouncing around
Sep 24, 2009 11:53 AM

Mortgage apps back at pre-recession levels

Low interest rates and tax credits are bringing more home buyers to the table. The weekly increase makes for a nice headline, but a longer-term chart shows we appear to be moving past the huge amount of noise from the past 18 months and back to the level of activity we saw for much of 2007 — provided, of course, that things level off here.
Sep 23, 2009 11:13 AM

How CRE is souring

Commercial real estate valuations are on their way into the tank: A report by Moody's puts the drop at 5 percent in July alone and says the past year's plummet puts us back at late '03 levels. But, says Diana Olick, there are numerous big-pocketed buyers preparing to be the white knights.
Sep 22, 2009 8:22 AM

And why haven't you taken all your chips of the equities table yet?

David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff runs down the reasons the stock market is a trap door waiting to open.
Sep 21, 2009 2:44 PM

Summing up today's economy

Jim Hamilton at Econbrowser does a nice job sifting through recent economic statistics, acknowledging the improvements coming from several areas, but still not walking away with a smile.
I see this as more than the conventional hand-wringing about a "jobless recovery." That phrase might suggest that we're just talking about a replay of the anemic recovery that followed the 2001 recession. In the first 6 months of 2002, nonfarm payrolls fell by 350,000, or 58,000 per month. In July and August of 2009, payrolls fell by 492,000. If the recession really ended in June, as some claim, this is a much more serious problem than we saw in 2002-2003.
Sep 21, 2009 1:01 PM

State jobless number up another tick

Tennessee's unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point in August to 10.8 percent, meaning more than 325,000 Tennesseans are now without work. That's up 120,000 people from a year ago — a number that does not include the 35,000 people by which the state's work force has shrunk over the past year.
Sep 17, 2009 2:07 PM