The National Association of Home Builders index of U.S. home builder sentiment rose to 58 in December, a stronger reading than the consensus expected.
There was a 68,000 jump in initial jobless claims to 368,000, according to data for the December 7 week. Claims are back to their highest point since the government shutdown in early October.
Consumer sentiment is building quickly this holiday season, at 82.5 for the early December reading compared to 75.1 for final November and 72.0 at mid-month November. The latest reading is the best since July.
Black Friday 2013 marked the first Black Friday since 2009 that spending declined, increasing the chance that retailers will extend discounted items. Purchases at stores and websites fell 2.9%.
Initial jobless claims fell a sharp 21,000 to 323,000 for the lowest level since the government shutdown lifted claims in the first half of October.
The U.S. homeownership rate rose from its lowest level in 18 years. The share of Americans who own their homes was 65.3% in the third quarter, up from 65% in the previous three months, the Census Bureau reported.
Despite the economic shutdown, job growth unexpectedly surged in October. The U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Senate Democrats were three votes short of advancing the nomination of U.S. Congressman Mel Watt to head the agency that oversees the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage groups. Read about this and more in this week’s Market Update.
After consecutive weeks of inching upward/remaining the same, mortgage rates dropped. Not just a little bit, either. In fact, rates dropped to their lowest point since June last week.
Congress passed a bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and end the partial government shutdown. While President Obama signed the short-term bill early Thursday morning, the deal will have to be revisited three months from now.