Headline News from Last Week
- Housing Market Index – The Housing Market Index came in at a very solid 55, right at the top end of the Econoday consensus range and up two points from July.
- Housing Starts – Starts for July jumped to an annualized pace of 1.093 million units, up from 0.945 million units the prior month.
- MBA Purchase Applications – A sizeable drop in mortgage rates failed to give a lift to purchase applications, which fell 0.4%.
- Jobless Claims – Initial claims fell 14,000 to a better-than-expected level of 298,000. The four-week average, 300,750, is up 4,750 from the week prior.
- Existing Home Sales – Existing sales advanced 2.4% in July to an annualized pace of 5.15 million units.
According to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac, average fixed-rate mortgage rates dropped to some of their lowest levels in 2014.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.10% with an average 0.5 point for the week ending August 21, 2014, down from last week when they averaged 4.12%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 4.58%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 3.23% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.24%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 3.60%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.95% this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 2.97%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.21%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.38% this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.36%. At this time last year, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.67%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 0.4% to close at 17,039.49, while the S&P 500 jumped 0.3% and ended the week at 1,992.37. The NASDAQ gained 0.1% and closed at 4,532.10.
The Week Ahead
Monday, August 25
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.
Tuesday, August 26
FHFA House Price Index (9:00 a.m. ET) – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI) covers single-family housing, using data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The House Price Index is derived from transactions involving conforming conventional mortgages purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
S&P Case-Shiller HPI – The S&P Case-Shiller home pricing index tracks monthly changes in the value of residential real estate in 20 metropolitan regions across the U.S.
Wednesday, August 27
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, August 28
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.
Pending Home Sales Index (10:00 a.m. ET) – The National Association of REALTORS developed the pending home sales index as a leading indicator of housing activity. Specifically, it is a leading indicator of existing home sales, not new home sales.
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