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Wolf Richter

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On his site WOLFSTREET.com, Wolf Richter slices into economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and China. He lives in San Francisco.

Wolf Street - In Hamilton, Ontario, after a ridiculous mind-bending spike, prices plunged 5.8% in August from July, and are down 10.5% in three months. In Toronto, prices plunged 4.0% in August from July, and are down 8.3% in three months. In Vancouver, prices dropped by 2.0% in August from July; in Ottawa by 3.1% in August; in […]

Wolf Street - “Buyer traffic is weak in many markets as more consumers remain on the sidelines due to high mortgage rates and home prices that are putting a new home purchase out of financial reach for many households,” according to the National Association of Home Builders this morning regarding its survey of home builders. Incentives: “In another […]

Wolf Street - Over the four weeks through September 9, gasoline consumption dropped by 11.7% from the same four-week period in 2019, to 8.56 million barrels per day on average, below the same periods in 2020 and 2021, according to EIA data today. The EIA measures gasoline consumption in terms of barrels supplied to the market by refiners, […]

Wolf Street - The Bank of Canada hiked the target for its overnight rate for the fifth time in a row, today by 75 basis points, to 3.25%, the highest since 2008, following the 100-basis-point monster hike at the last meeting, which got everyone’s attention. In the statement, the BoC said that its policy interest rate “will need […]

Wolf Street - On the Bank of Canada’s balance sheet released Friday, total assets of C$439 billion were down by 24% from the peak in March 2021 (C$575 billion). By comparison, the Fed’s balance sheet peaked in April 2022. The BoC’s Quantitative Tightening (QT) started in essence in April 2021 and is way ahead of the Fed’s QT. […]

Wolf Street - The plunge in home sales is just stunning. Sales of new single-family houses collapsed by 12.6% in July from the already beaten-down levels in June, and by nearly 30% from July last year, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 511,000 houses, the lowest since January 2016, and well below the lockdown lows, according to […]

Wolf Street - Inventory and supply of previously-owned homes of all types – single-family houses, condos, co-ops, and townhouses – surged, and sales plunged, amid sky-high prices that have been made impossible by 5%-plus holy-moly mortgage rates. And so the red-hot housing market turns into a “housing recession,” as the National Association of Realtors called it today, after […]

Wolf Street - It wasn’t the hottest growth in jobs ever, but it was big and exceeded the pre-pandemic average job growth. Employers added 528,000 workers to their payrolls in July, and 2.79 million over the past three months. Wages jumped, but less than raging inflation, and the number of unemployed people actively looking for work fell to […]

Wolf Street - Signs are now everywhere that the crazy housing market is turning the corner. Earlier today the Census Bureau reported some chilling data on new house sales and prices, which plunged in June, as inventory surged to the highest since 2008. The National Association of Realtors reported last week that existing home sales in June also […]

Wolf Street - Homebuilders have struggled for well over a year with supply and labor shortages and ridiculously spiking costs. In addition, this year, the new holy-moly mortgage rates added to the woes, and unsold inventories surged to levels not seen since 2008, as sales fell. And homebuilder stocks have gotten hammered across the board, down year-to-date between […]

Wolf Street - “To front-load the path to higher interest rates,” the Bank of Canada today jacked up its main rate by a 100 basis points to 2.5%, the fourth rate hike in a row, and the biggest rate hike since 1998, which made the BoC the first of the G-7 central banks to raise by 100 basis […]

Wolf Street - Automakers have now reported their June new vehicle sales, or their Q2 new vehicle sales, for the US, except Tesla, which doesn’t report US sales but only global sales. All automakers, even Toyota, and now even Tesla, are struggling with the ongoing semiconductor shortages, and they started the month of June with desperately low inventories […]

Wolf Street - The first “deceleration” and “signs of a tipping point” cropped up in the S&P CoreLogic Home Price Index, which was released today. But today’s data for “April” consists of the three-month average of closed home sales that were entered into public records in February, March, and April,  representing deals that were made a few weeks […]

Wolf Street - When Canada’s Consumer Price Index for May was released a couple of days ago, it was – “as expected,” I would say – a lot lot worse than expected, and exceeded once again by a huge margin the inflation forecasts by the Bank of Canada. According to the exasperated economists at the National Bank of […]

Wolf Street - Inventories of new vehicles at dealers are still desperately short, even as sales have plunged due to vehicle shortages. That has been a given now for over a year, and it hasn’t gotten better, and depending on who is talking, it might get a little better, or it might get worse, if that’s even possible. […]

Wolf Street - The home price data released today by the S&P CoreLogic Home Price Index represents the three-month average of closed home sales that were entered into public records in January, February, and March, reflecting deals that were agreed to a few weeks earlier, roughly in December, January, and February, funded with mortgages that were pre-approved before […]

Wolf Street - Sales of new single-family houses in April plunged by 16.6% from March and by 26.9% from a year ago, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 houses, the lowest since lockdown April 2020, according to the Census Bureau today. Sales of new houses are registered when contracts are signed, not when deals close, and […]

Wolf Street - Pieces of evidence are lining up in increasing density. The number of potential future homebuyers that need a mortgage has been thinning out for months. Today, another milestone: Applications for mortgages to purchase a home dropped 12% from the prior week and were down 15% from a year ago. In its report, the Mortgage Bankers […]

Wolf Street - The total amount of leverage in the stock market is unknown and takes many forms. The only form that is tracked and reported on a monthly basis is margin debt. The other forms, such as Securities Based Lending (SBL) and hedge funds leveraged at the institutional level are not tracked. Not even banks and brokers […]

Wolf Street - Credit card balances ticked up 1.9% in March from February, not seasonally adjusted, to $1.036 billion, according to the Federal Reserve today. Compared to three years ago, March 2019, the last March before the pandemic, this was up by only 3.0%. In other words, credit card balances are now just 3% higher than there were […]

Wolf Street - Spiking mortgage rates multiply the effects of exploding home prices on mortgage payments, and it has taken layer after layer of homebuyers out of the market for the past four months. And we can see that. Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell further this week and were down 17% from a year ago, hitting […]

Wolf Street - The rate of inflation in Canada spiked to 6.7% in March, from 5.7% in February. The Bank of Canada hiked its policy rates twice so far this year, including by 50 basis points in April, and announced that QT would start on April 25. Government of Canada bond yields have spiked. And home buyers, after […]

Wolf Street - The spike in mortgage rates – a result of the Fed’s widely telegraphed future crackdown on inflation – would sooner or later have to impact the crazy housing bubble. We knew that. Now the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has spiked to well above 5%. For example, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported this morning that […]

Wolf Street - The Bank of Canada, after telegraphing it for weeks, hiked its overnight rate by 50 basis points today, the first 50-basis-point hike since 2000, after having hiked by 25 basis points at its March meeting. This brought its overnight rate to 1.0%. “Interest rates will need to rise further,” governor Tiff Macklem said in the […]

Wolf Street - We just knew this would be coming, given the sky-high home prices and the spike in mortgage rates: Homebuyer sentiment deteriorated further to a new low. The percentage of people who said that now is a “bad time to buy” a home jumped to 73%, another record-worst in the data going back to 2010, according […]
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