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  4. Economic Indicators Mixed, Consumers Still Wary – Market Update
Market UpdateExisting Home Sales: Existing home sales declined this month, with the annual pace down 4.8% to 5.31 million. The year-on-year sales growth is 6.2%. The median price for an existing home is $228,700. Supply in the market is at 5.2 months from 4.9 months in July. There were single-digit declines in all regions of the country.

FHFA House Price Index: Prices were up 0.6% in July, pushing year-on-year growth to 5.8%. It’s the largest monthly price increase since February. At the top end, prices were up 1.6% in the mountain region. Meanwhile, New England fell 1.2% on the month.

MBA Mortgage Applications: The Fed chose to hold short-term interest rates steady, and it had a positive impact on mortgage applications. Applications for purchase were up 9.0% and refinance applications spiked 18.0%. Overall applications activity was up 13.9% from the week prior. The average 30-year fixed rate was unchanged at 4.09%.

Durable Goods Orders: Durable goods orders were down 2.0% in August. Aircraft orders had a huge effect on the drop as orders for commercial aircraft fell 12%. Motor vehicle orders were also down 1.5%, while shipments of cars and trucks were down 1.6%. Taking out transportation, orders were flat for the month. Total orders were down 2.3% for the year. Core goods shipments fell 0.2% in August, but they were up 0.8% for the year.

Jobless Claims: Initial claims rose by a lower-than-expected 3,000 last week to come in at 267,000. The four-week average of initial claims was down 75,000 to 271,750. Meanwhile, continuing claims were up 5,000 at 2.242 million. Despite the rise, this is still down almost 25,000 from this time a month ago. The good news is that the four-week average is down almost 15,000 to 2.252 million.

New Home Sales: New home sales added 30,000 to their annual pace in August, bringing projected sales for the year to 552,000, the highest sales rate since February 2008. In a revision, 15,000 sales were added to the July ledger. The gains caused a supply drop in the market to 4.7 months from 4.9 months. Home prices were up 0.5% to $292,700. Sales are up 22% on the year. The South and Northeast showed strong sales gains. Sales for the year are strongest in the South, up 28%. The West has seen the slowest growth, up 11% for the year.

GDP: The U.S. economy grew 3.9%, according to the final GDP revision of the second quarter. Personal spending was a big part of this as final sales also came in at 3.9%, and personal consumption expenditures were at 3.6% growth. This is 0.5% higher than the previous revision. Durable goods were down slightly, but they still climbed 8.0% in the quarter on strong vehicle sales. Nondurable goods were up a bit to 4.3%. Residential fixed investment was also at 1.5% to come in at 9.3% for the quarter. Inflation rose 2.1% during the period.

Consumer Sentiment: Consumer sentiment rose 1.5 points to 87.2 since its midmonth reading. However, the September level is still the weakest since last October. The expectations component was up 1.2 points from last reading, but at 78.2, it’s the lowest since last September. Continuing the ongoing theme, current conditions were up 0.9 points to come in at 101.2, the lowest reading for any month since last October. Inflation expectations held steady at 2.8% over the next year and 2.7% over the next five years.

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates were down this week after the Fed decided to keep short-term interest rates where they’re at for now.

30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 3.86% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending September 24, 2015, down from last week when they averaged 3.91%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 4.20%.

15-year FRMs this week averaged 3.08% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.11%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 3.36%.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.91% this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 2.92%. A year ago, the 5-year ARMs averaged 3.08%.

1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.53% this week with an average 0.2 point, down from last week when they averaged 2.56%. At this time last year, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.43%.

Stock Market

Stocks closed mixed on Friday as investors reacted positively to Nike earnings, and biotech stocks were down. Meanwhile, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said she still expected short-term interest rates to be raised by the end of the year and traders waited for news on whether lawmakers would resolve their budget differences to avert a government shutdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 113.35 points at the closing bell Friday afternoon, finishing at 16,314.67, down 0.43% for the week. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 held about even, shedding just 0.90 points to finish at 1,931.34, down 1.36% week over week. The NASDAQ finished down 47.98 points at 4,686.50. This was a 2.92% weekly loss.

The Week Ahead

Monday, September 28

Personal Income and Outlays (8:30 a.m.) – This measures all possible income sources as well as expenditures of the public.

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’s a leading indicator of existing home sales, not new home sales.

Tuesday, September 29

S&P Case-Shiller HPI (9:00 a.m. ET) – 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.

Consumer Confidence (10:00 a.m. ET) – The Conference Board compiles a survey of consumer attitudes on the economy. The headline Consumer Confidence Index is based on consumer perceptions of current business and employment conditions, as well as their expectations when considering business conditions, employment and income.

Wednesday, September 30

MBA Mortgage Applications (7:00 a.m. ET) – The mortgage applications index measures applications to mortgage lenders. This is a leading indicator for single-family home sales and housing construction.

Thursday, October 1

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. An increasing trend suggests a deteriorating labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.

ISM Manufacturing Index (10:00 a.m.) – This index measures the general direction of manufacturing within the U.S. The qualitative survey of purchasing managers looks at production, new orders, order backlogs, inventories and supplier deliveries, among other factors.

Friday, October 2

Employment Situation (8:30 a.m. ET) – The employment situation report measures unemployment in the labor force as well as the sentiments of workers about the job market.

Visit the Quicken Loans Zing Blog for updated information on important economic releases that affect your wallet.

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