Architecture billings: "[T]he Architecture Billings Index (ABI) posting its lowest level since the survey began in 1995 for the second month in a row."
Builder confidence: "[T]he builder confidence index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). . . was at 9, tying the record low set in November." The index goes back to at least 1985 when it was at 50 on a scale of 0 to 100.
Homeowner's equity as a percentage of home value is the lowest it has been since 1952, and is probably an all time low (as this percentage has fallen steadily for decades and mortgages were harder to get before tax subsidies, the GI Bill, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac make mortgages more available in the post-World War II era). The average homeowner owns 44.7% of their home, but "approximately 31% of households do not have a mortgage. So the 50+ million households with mortgages have far less equity than 44.7%."
The Prime Rate: "[M]ost banks cut the rate they charge their best customers, known as the prime rate, to 3.25 percent from 4 percent. The last time it was that low was in 1955, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis."
The Federal Funds rate: "[T]he Federal Reserve cut interest rates to their lowest level on record."
Thirty year Treasuries: "The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond plunged to as low as 2.72 percent on Tuesday, it's lowest level in the 31 years since regular auctions of the securities started in 1977."
Consumer price index: We are experiencing significant deflation not seen since the Great Depression. "On Tuesday, the Labor Department reported that consumer prices last month dropped by 1.7 percent, the largest amount in 61 years of records, due to huge declines in food and energy prices." ; "The cost of living dropped 1.7 percent between October and November, the most since records began in 1947, a Labor Department report showed in Washington Tuesday. Excluding food and energy, so-called core prices were unchanged from a month earlier."
Unemployment claims: "Initial weekly unemployment claims last week were the highest since late 1982."
While not reported as a record, the news on Alt-A mortgage defaults (intermediate between subprime and prime credit mortgages) is very bad according to Fitch ratings:
The rating agency said it now expects average cumulative losses on 2005, 2006 and 2007 vintage Alt-A transactions to hit 2.72, 6.78 and 9.58 percent, respectively, up dramatically from expectations at the agency earlier this year.
Fitch cited a “rapid increase in 60+ day delinquencies experienced over the past six months,” despite servicers’ collective efforts to hold off on actual foreclosure sales — likely implying that a halt to foreclosures is having little effect in resolving borrower delinquencies. Between May and October 2008, Fitch said that 60+ day delinquencies for the 2007 vintage increased from 8.80 percent to 14.65 percent; 2006 and 2005 vintages also experienced steep increases rising from 10.30 percent to 14.24 percent and 6.57 percent to 8.79 percent, respectively.
Oil prices have fallen to four year low of about $45 a barrel.
Of course, the auto industry bailout I reported earlier noting claims that it was a done deal, failed in the U.S. Senate. General Motors has retained bankruptcy counsel.