Last week’s economic reports included monthly readings on housing market conditions, housing starts and building permits issued. Sales of pre-owned homes were released; the Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise its key interest rate range. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Slips in June
The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for June showed builder confidence was two points lower at an index reading of 64. Builders surveyed said ongoing concerns such as lot and labor shortages impacted their outlook, but builders were also concerned over the impact of trade wars and tariffs on the cost of building materials.
Housing starts dipped to 1.27 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in May. April’s reading was 1.28 million starts and surpassed the expected reading of 1.23 million starts. Although housing starts were higher, they were 3 percent lower year to date than for the same period in 2018 and were 4.79 percent lower year-over-year. Building permits issued held steady in May at 1.29 million permits issued; analysts expected a reading of 1.30 million permits issued.
Sales of pre-owned homes were higher in May with 5.34 million sales; 5.28 million sales were expected based on April’s reading of 5.21 million sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that sales of pre-owned homes were 2.50 percent higher than for April, but were 1.10 percent lower year-over-year.
Warmer weather and peak home-buying season contributed to the increase in sales. Lower mortgage rates likely compelled would-be buyers to enter the market. The Federal Reserve did not raise its target interest rate range, which stands at 2.25-2.50 percent. Lenders typically raise rates charged to consumers when the Fed raises its key rate range.
Mortgage Rates Little Changed, New Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported little change in mortgage rates last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.84 percent and rose two basis points week-to-week. Interest rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.25 percent and fell one basis point on average.
The average rate for 5/1 fixed-rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 3.48 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims fell to 216,000 claims from the prior week’s reading of 222,000 new claims filed and expectations of 220,000 initial jobless claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller Indices, readings on sales of new homes, pending home sales and the consumer sentiment index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims are also scheduled.
Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.
Consumer Price Index Lower in May as Retail Sales Hold Steady
Last month’s Consumer Price Index, which is a widely-used gauge of inflation, dropped to 0.10 percent in May and matched expectations. April posted month-to-month growth of 0.30 percent. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose 0.10 percent in May and fell short of expectations of 0.20 percent growth.
April’s Core Consumer Price Index grew by 0.10 percent. Analysts reported a likely slowdown in economic expansion last week. Consumers, vendors and financial analysts said trade wars and global economic uncertainty were factors in concerns over economic conditions.
Retail sales rose from April’s reading of 0.30 percent to 0.50 percent in May; retail sales without automotive sales held steady with 0.50 percent growth. April retail sales also had 0.50 percent growth.
Mortgage Rates Stay Near Two Year Low
Freddie Mac reported average mortgage rates were little changed last week. 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.52 percent and were unchanged from the prior week. 15-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 3.26 percent and were two basis points lower.
5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped one basis point to 3.51 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims rose to 222,000 claims filed last week, which exceeded expectations of 218,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 219,000 initial jobless claims. Analysts said that labor markets remained solid, but layoffs in California and Pennsylvania caused new jobless claims to rise last week.
The University of Michigan reported lower consumer sentiment in June with an index reading of 97.90 as compared to May’s reading of 100.00; 40 percent of consumers surveyed cited concerns over pending tariffs against Mexico for falling confidence in economic conditions.
The tariffs against Mexico were sidelined, which may boost consumer confidence readings in July. When tariffs were set against imports from China, only 21 percent of survey participants identified tariffs as cause for concern.
This week’s scheduled economic releases include reports from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets conditions, the Federal Reserve’s FOMC meeting statement and a press conference from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Data on sales of pre-owned homes will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
Last week’s economic releases included readings on construction spending, public and private sector jobs and national unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time unemployment claims were also released.
Construction Spending Little Changed in April
Census Bureau readings for April showed a minor dip in construction spending as compared to revised figures for March. $1,295.5 billion was spent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis and missed the expected reading of $1,314.7 billion.
March construction spending was revised to $1,299.2 billion. Falling mortgage rates were good news for home buyers, but concerns over global economic disputes and higher materials prices concerned home builders.
Mortgage Rates Fall as Initial Jobless Claims Hold Steady
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates across the board. 30-year fixed mortgage rates dropped 17 basis points to 3.82 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell 18 basis points to 3.28 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell eight basis points to 3.22 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims were unchanged with 218,000 first-time claims filed. Monthly labor reports issued for May showed sharply lower jobs growth for public and private sector jobs.
Public and Private Sector Jobs Growth Dips in May
In a potential warning of slowing economic growth, public and private sector job creation fell far short of expected readings in May. The Labor Department’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 75,000 new jobs in May as compared to expectations of 180,000 new jobs and April’s reading of 224,000 public and private sector jobs created.
ADP’s report for private sector jobs growth was equally dismal for May; 27,000 jobs were created as compared to April’s revised reading of 271,000 private sector jobs created. Mark Zandi, who developed ADP jobs reporting, said “The economy is weakening; growth is slowing and slowing sharply.” The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.60 percent, which matched expectations. Analysts said that signs of slower economic growth could lead the Federal Reserve to implement monetary easing.
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.
Last week’s economic news included readings from Case-Shiller on home prices and pending home sales. Readings on consumer confidence and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in March
While home prices continue to rise throughout the U.S., they are growing at a slower pace. Case-Shiller reported that Home prices dropped 0.20 percent in March to a growth rate of 3.70 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Case-Shiller said that March home price growth was the lowest rate reported in 10 years.
Top cities for home price growth in March were Last Vegas, Nevada with a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year home price growth rate of 8.20 percent; Home prices rose 6.10 percent in Phoenix, Arizona and increased by 5.30 percent in Tampa, Florida. These three metro areas suffered steep declines in home prices during the recession.
Home prices are no longer growing at double-digit rates, and the West Coast is no longer experiencing rapid growth of home prices previously reported in Seattle, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angles California metro areas. Analysts said that while home-buyers continue to seek homes in temperate climates, they are no longer looking in high-cost coastal metro areas. New York City was the only metro area reporting a month-to- month negative growth rate in home prices, but it is already one of the highest cost housing markets in the nation.
Pending Home Sales Fall for 16th Consecutive Month
According to the National Association of Realtors®, the annual rate of pending home sales fell for the 16th consecutive month in April. The Midwest region was the only region to report growth in pending home sales with a reading of +1.30 percent growth. Northeastern regional pending sales fell by -1.80 percent. Pending home sales dropped -2.50 percent in the South and fell by -1.80 percent in the West. Real estate pros and mortgage lenders track pending home sales as an indicator of future home sales closed and mortgage loan volume.
Mortgage Rates Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise
Mortgage rates fell across the board last week in response to uncertainty in global markets. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell seven basis points to 3.99 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.46 percent and fell five basis points. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell an average of eight basis points to 3.60 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Weekly jobless claims rose to 215,000 initial claims and matched expectations. Analysts did not find last week’s increase of 3000 new claims filed an indicator of weakening economic conditions. Unemployment remains near an all-time low set in 1968.
Consumer confidence as reported by the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index was revised to reflect a dip in consumer confidence after tariffs on Chinese imports were imposed. Consumer confidence dropped to an index reading of 100.0 as compared to May’s initial reading of 102.4.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on private and public sector job growth and the national unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims will also be released.
Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes; weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.
Sales of New and Pre-Owned Homes Lower in April
Sales of brand-new homes fell nearly seven percent in April according to Commerce Department reports. Analysts noted that March sales of new homes were revised upward, which contributed to the difference between March and April readings. 673,000 new homes were sold in April on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected a reading of 670,000 sale of new homes; this reading was based on the initial March reading which was later revised upward to 723,000 sales.
Factors impacting new home sales include affordability, strict mortgage qualification requirements and new homes being built for higher-end markets. The average sale price for new homes was eight percent higher year-over-year at $342,20.
Year-to-date sales of new homes were 6.70 percent higher in April than for the same period in 2018. Inventories of homes for sale was reported at 5.9 months. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of available homes as an indicator of average market conditions.
Sales of previously-owned homes were lower in April. 5.19 million existing homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis; this reading fell short of expectations of 5.35 million sales and the sales rate of 5.21 million sales of pre-owned homes reported in March. Sales were lower for pre-owned homes for the second consecutive month in April.
Sales of pre-owned homes were 0.40 percent lower month-to-month and were 4.40 percent lower year-over-year. First-time and moderate income home buyers are attracted to lower asking prices for previously-owned homes; declining sales suggest that prices of pre-owned homes have risen beyond affordability for buyers with moderate incomes and less-than perfect credit ratings.
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 4.06 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged two basis points lower at 3.51 percent.
Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were two basis points higher and averaged 3.68 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims fell to 211,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 0f 212,000 claims filed. Analysts expected a higher reading of 217,000 new jobless claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller on home prices; pending home sales will also be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, housing starts and building permits issued. Consumer sentiment was reported along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises in May, Housing Starts Increase in April
The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index posted its highest reading in seven months in May as headwinds facing home construction waned. Lower mortgage rates were a positive sign. May’s reading rose three points to 66; component readings also rose.
The index of builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose three points to an index reading of 72; the reading for builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose one point to 72 and the confidence reading for buyer traffic in new housing developments rose two points to 49. The reading for buyer traffic seldom exceeds 50. A reading of 50 or above indicates positive builder sentiment.
Commerce Department reports for April showed higher readings for housing starts and building permits issued. 1.235 million housing starts were reported at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace. Analysts expected 1.209 million starts based on March reading of 1.16 million starts. Housing starts were six percent higher as compared to March, but remained lower year-over-year. Building permits reported in April rose from 1.288 million permits issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in March to 1.296 million permits in April.
Mortgage Rates, Mixed New Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported lower fixed mortgage rates were lower last week, but the average rate for 5/1 adjustable mortgages rose. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.07 percent and were three basis points lower. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.53 percent and were four basis points lower.
The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose three basis points to 3.66 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims were lower last week with 212,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 217,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 228,000 initial claims filed. Analysts said that the drop in first-time claims was a sign of economic strength and job markets.
Consumer sentiment hit a 15-year high according to the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment
Index. reported an index reading of 102.40 in May; analysts expected a reading of 97.10 based on April’s reading of 97.20. Low unemployment fueled consumer sentiment, but analysts emphasized that consumers were surveyed before higher tariffs on China were announced; the costs of tariffs will be passed on to consumers, which is expected to dampen consumer sentiment.
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes and minutes of the Fed’s FOMC Committee meeting. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.