Headline News from Last Week
- Retail Sales – Sales were soft in April and below expectations. It appears sales are still fluctuating from the adverse winter weather.
- Housing Market Index – The index fell 1 point to 45, 3 points below the low-end Econoday forecast.
- Consumer Price Index – Energy bumped up consumer price inflation in April. Headline inflation posted a 0.3% rise after rising 0.2% in March.
- Jobless Claims – Initial claims dropped 24,000 for the second straight week. It marks the lowest reading since May 2007.
- Housing Starts – Starts advanced notably more than expected in April with a 13.2% monthly jump.
- Consumer Sentiment – The latest reading of 81.8 was below the low estimate in the Econoday forecast. The drop could prove to be an outlier in an otherwise continued trend to new recovery highs.
According to the primary mortgage market survey released by Freddie Mac, average fixed-rate mortgage rates eased slightly for the third consecutive week and remained at a six month low.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.20% with an average 0.6 point for the week ending May 15, 2014, down from last week when they averaged 4.21%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 3.51%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 3.29% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.32%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 2.69%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 3.01% this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.05%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.62%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.43% this week with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. At this time last year, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.55%.
Stocks bounced back late in the day Friday, though the advance was not enough to push the Dow Jones Industrial Average into positive territory for the week. The S&P 500 rose above 1,900 for the first time Tuesday, but ended the week almost exactly where it started. Thanks to big gain on Friday, the NASDAQ earned a small win for the week.
The Week Ahead
Wednesday, May 21
MBA Purchase Applications (7:00 a.m. ET) – The purchase applications index measures applications at mortgage lenders. This is a leading indicator for single-family home sales and housing construction.
Thursday, May 22
Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. ET) – New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time.
Existing Home Sales (10:00 a.m. ET) – Existing Home Sales tallies the number of previously-constructed homes, condominiums and co-ops in which a sale closed during the month. Existing homes (also known as home resales) account for a larger share of the market than new homes and indicate housing market trends.
Friday, May 23
New Home Sales (10:00 a.m. ET) – New home sales measure the number of newly-constructed homes with a committed sale during the month.
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