MBA Mortgage Applications: Applications were up 2.3% this week, offsetting last week’s losses. Purchases were up 5.0%, and refinances gained 1.0%. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is down four basis points to 3.83%.
FHFA House Price Index: House prices were up 0.7% in February. Prices are up 5.4% from this time a year ago.
Existing Home Sales: Home sales surged in March by 6.1%. This is the strongest gain since December 2010, and among one of the highest gains in 16 years. Single-family houses jumped up 5.5%, while condos soared, gaining 11.1%. Between an improving jobs market and low rates, the housing market is coming to life.
Jobless Claims: Trends in jobless claims are indicating an improvement for the month of April. While the initial claims didn’t show much change, the comparison of the four-week average is down 22,000, which is a 15-year low. This trend will likely raise expectations for the April employment report.
New Home Sales: The recent housing data has had the consistency of a roller coaster, changing dramatically between high and low. On April 23, it was bad news for new home sales, which fell by 11.4% to a 481,000 annual rate. Sales in the largest region, the South, fell 15.8%, while sales in the Midwest rose 5.9%.
Mortgage rates dropped slightly this week: 0.6% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) and 15-year FRM and 0.4% for 5-year adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) and 1-year ARMs. This is positive news for potential home buyers during the spring season.
30-year fixed-rate FRMs averaged 3.65% signs with an average 0.6 point for the week ending April 23, 2015, down from last week when it averaged 3.67%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRMs averaged 4.33%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 2.92% with an average 0.6 points, down from last week when they averaged 2.94%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRMs averaged 3.39%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARMs averaged 2.84% this week with an average 0.4 points, down from last week when they averaged 2.88%. A year ago, the 5-year ARMs averaged 3.03%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.44% this week with an average 0.4 points, down from last week when they averaged 2.46%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARMs averaged 2.44%.
U.S. investors saw major earnings on Friday with the NASDAQ setting another record, closing at 5,092.08. This is the second day in a row that the NASDAQ closed at a new record. The S&P 500 also did well, ending slightly higher for a new record close of 2,117.69, while top-weighted stocks declined for the Dow, causing it to make meager gains for a close of 5,092.08. Gains among energy shares were able to offset weaker overseas economic reports and the domestic crude oil price reached its highest level of the year on Thursday.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, April 28
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, April 29
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.
GDP (8:30 a.m. ET) – This measures the monetary value of all final goods and services produced within the U.S. This report is released on a quarterly basis.
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’s a leading indicator of existing home sales, not new home sales.
Thursday, April 30
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.
Personal Income and Outlays (8:30 a.m.) – This measures all possible income sources as well as expenditures of the public.
Friday, May 1
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.
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.
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