Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Sizing up housing’s role in new economy

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Just when everyone was certain that long term rates would rise, they fell. Wednesday's 10-year Treasury-note auction drew more bidders than any since 1994, and its yield thumped down from near 4 percent to 3.85 percent, mortgages back down to 5.125 percent. The improvement is gradually reversing, but for the moment we're OK. An $11.5 billion dive in consumer credit in February more than wiped out a revised gain in January, the first in 11 months. New claims for unemployment insurance were supposed to continue improvement and drop to 433,000, but instead jumped to 460,000. Careful with the "hosannas" to March retail sales: the measure that jumped 9 percent was a year-over-year comparison, and March last year was the pit of panic. The easy Treasury auction revealed the enormous gulf between the noisy sustained-recovery believers and the quiet skeptics who elbowed to buy the bonds. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke laid it out this week: "We are still far...