Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Only two more days ... thank goodness!

We're two days away from the Fed news, expected at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday. And thank goodness. Waiting for this meeting has been a killer on the nerves since this could be a real game changer for stocks, bonds, the dollar and more. Nothing to do now but wait.

One quick bit of news in the meantime: Both new and existing home sales figures were released for the month of May. The rate of new home sales was stronger than expected, up 4.6% from April. What happened? Builders slashed prices and threw "cash on the hood" a la GM, that's what. My evidence: The advertisements all around me AND the fact the median price of a new home plunged more than $10,000 between April and May. May's $235,300 median price was the lowest since last July. Inventory for sale (in absolute numbers) dropped a bit, however.

On the existing side of the business, sales fell 1.2% between April and May and inventory ballooned to a fresh high of 3.6 million units. Prices were up 6% YOY. The latest figures don't change my overall outlook: Housing is headed into the toilet over the longer-term due to slumping sales, panicky speculators, surging supply, rising interest rates, a looming tightening in lending standards, higher ARM payments (do I need to keep going on?)


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