Last week we received several economic reports related to housing, a few worth noting this week was new and existing home sales, the FHFA House Price Index, weekly reports on mortgage rates, new jobless claims, and finally the week ended with a report on consumer sentiment.
The National Association of Realtors reported that home sales of existing homes fell in August, while most housing analysts expected sales to reach a reading of 5.52 million sales on an annual basis. The actual reading was 5.31 million existing homes sold as compared to July’s reading of 5.58 million. Rising home prices and limited supply were cited as a primary reason for the drop in sales.
FHFA’s House Price Index for July supported the trend in rising home prices; July’s reading was 0.60 percent as compared to June’s reading of a 0.20 percent increase in home prices associated with homes with mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
New home sales reached the highest level since early 2008 in August. Home builder sentiment is at its highest level in nearly a decade, according to a survey earlier this month from the National Association of Home Builders
Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates fell last week. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.86 percent and down from 3.91 a week earlier. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage was 3.08 percent and the rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by one basis point to 2.91 percent. Discount points were 0.70, 0.60 and 0.50 percent respectively.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose slightly last week but remained at a low level consistent with solid job growth. The Labor Department says weekly applications for jobless claims rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000, however, the four-week average fell to a 15-year low.
The University of Michigan reported that consumers rose in September. Worried about bad news around the global and specifically weak economic news coming from China, and Europe’s economic stresses appeared to of eased. The consumer sentiment index rose to 87.2 from an 85.7 reading earlier this month. This month’s reading is the lowest since October 2014 and down from the August reading at 91.9.
What’s Ahead for the Week?
This week’s economic reports include Pending Home Sales, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Core Inflation, ADP Employment and the government’s Non- farm Payrolls report. The national unemployment rate and Consumer Confidence Index for September is also slated for release this week.
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