Sunday, August 16, 2009

From the weekend press.

Bradford and Bingley, the British mortgage bank, reported that at the end of June 40% of its mortgage book was in negative equity . This number was up from 30% recorded at the end of 2008. Customers who were more than 3 months behind in payments rose to 5.88% of the book from 4.6% at year end.

15.2 million US mortgages (32.2% of all mortgaged properties) were in negative equity as of June 30th. In Nevada 2/3rds of all home owners are in negative equity.

Hotels have enjoyed a summer surge in occupancy rates- they rose as high as 67% in late July. Now the peak summer travel season is ending a bleak Fall season beckons. Revenue per available room in the US is running at a level some 16% below last years already weak levels. Business travel is down much more sharply than leisure travel which doesn't auger well.The 3rd and 4th quarter numbers are likely to be pretty dire.

Some good news. Capacity utilization rates for US industry rose 0.5% in July to 68.5% a level nearly 12.5% below the 1972-2008 average.