Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Data junkies....

There's been a rash of data out this week that is sending some mixed signals.

This chart shows mortgage applications tumbling fairly sharply to levels not seen since the mid-90's. Mortgage applications have been a less accurate indicator of real estate activity during the recession because of an increasing number of cash buyers, but it's hard to ignore the most recent decline. Now imagine what happens in April when the First Time Homebuyer tax credit expires...
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** ADP's payroll data showed just 84,000 jobs lost in December. If the trend holds, this means the BLS might show job growth in December when they release their numbers. Again, much of this growth will be temporary jobs, retail and government jobs (watch out for census jobs as well), but the headlines might scream "JOBS ARE BACK!!!".
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** Locally, the December new car registrations has me puzzled. New car registrations JUMPED to 207 almost a 30 increase from last year and a solid number relative to boom years like 2007 and 2006 (data courtesy of www.newzjunky.com). How can this be?
I've not followed local troop deployments closely enough to know who is where, but I seem to remember hearing about troops returning in November/December. Since we're only talking about 50 extra cars sold in a month it seems possible that a large contingent of returning soldiers (with more returning in Jan) could influence the local car sales data. Definitely something to watch.

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** Commercial Real Estate - I haven't talked about commercial real estate, in particular retail space in some time, but the data out today shows there's been no rebound in retail.

* According to data Q4 strip mall vacancies rose to an 18-yr high of 10.6%

* According to Reis - , its outlook for retail properties as a whole is bleak, does not foresee a recovery in the retail sector until late 2012, at the earliest.

* Of note, for the first time in Reis’ 29 year history, effective rent in all of the 77 markets covered declined.

Not a good time to be a lender to strip malls.

Cheers!

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