- Housing Market Index – The Housing Market Index failed to bounce back much from February’s record loss. It came in at a lower-than-expected 1-point gain.
- Consumer Price Index – Consumer price inflation remained soft in February at the headline and core levels. Headline inflation posted at 0.1%, matching the pace in January and market expectations.
- Housing Starts – Overall, starts dropped 0.2% to a 907,000 annual rate. Single-family starts rose 0.3%.
- FOMC Meeting Announcement – The Fed left policy rates unchanged. Tapering remains as scheduled with another $10 billion cut.
- Jobless Claims – The early outlook for the March employment report is positive. Initial claims came in at a lower-than-expected 320,000.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index – Americans were more pessimistic on the outlook for the economy in March than at any time in four months, a sign that the effects of harsh winter weather are still rippling through the U.S. 24% of households surveyed projected the economy would improve, the fewest since November.
- Existing Home Sales – For the sixth time in seven months, sales of existing homes contracted (-0.4%).
According to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac, average mortgage rates decreased slightly.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.32% with an average 0.6 point for the week ending March 20, 2014, down from last week when they averaged 4.37%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 3.54%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 3.32% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.38%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 2.72%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 3.02% this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.09%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.61%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.49% this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.48%. At this time last year, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.63%.
The S&P 500 hit a record high early Friday before fading and ending the day lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed in the red, wiping out a gain of more than 100 points from earlier in the day. The NASDAQ suffered the hardest hit, falling more than 1%.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, March 25
FHFA House Price Index (9 a.m. ET) – The FHFA House Price Index covers single-family housing, using data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
S&P Case-Shiller HPI (9 a.m. ET) – The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index tracks monthly changes in the value of residential real estate in 20 metropolitan regions across the U.S.
New Home Sales (10 a.m. ET) – New home sales measure the number of newly-constructed homes with a committed sale during the month.
Consumer Confidence (10 a.m. ET) – The Consumer Confidence Index is based on consumers’ perceptions of current business and employment conditions, as well as their expectations for six months regarding business conditions, employment and income.
Thursday, March 27
GDP (8:30 a.m. ET) – GDP is the broadest measure of aggregate economic activity and encompasses every sector of the economy.
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.
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (9:45 a.m. ET) – The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is a weekly, random-sample survey that tracks Americans’ views on the condition of the U.S. economy, their personal finances and the buying climate.
Pending Home Sales Index (10 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.
Friday, March 28
Consumer Sentiment (9:55 a.m. ET) – The University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Center questions 500 households each month on their financial conditions and attitudes about the economy. Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending.
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