Last week, we did get some housing data, but really, all eyes were on what the Federal Reserve was going to do. In the end, they decided to leave things where they were and punt short-term interest rate increases to another meeting.
Housing Market Index: Home builders are very confident in housing as sentiment surged six points to 65. The September reading is the best since last October. Present sales are up six points to 71. Future sales are up five points to match their present sales counterpart. There’s even some improvement in traffic numbers, which are up four points to 48. This means more home buyers are coming to open houses. Briefly breaking out the regional data, the West is bursting with optimism, coming in at 82. The nation’s largest region for new home growth, the South, follows at 68. The Midwest comes in at 56 and the Northeast is at 43.
Housing Starts: Both starts and permits fell quite a bit in August. Starts were down 5.4% to 1.142 million on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. Single-family starts were down 6.0% to 722,000, while multi-family starts were down 5.4% to 420,000. Meanwhile, permits fell 0.4% to 1.139 million in August. This isn’t all bad. Single-family permits were up 3.7% to 737,000. However, multi-family permits were down 7.2% to 402,000.
MBA Mortgage Applications: The applications index was down 7.3% last week ahead of the big interest rate announcement from the Federal Reserve. Purchases fell 7.0% and refinances were down 8.0%. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage came in up three points to 3.70%.
Jobless Claims: Initial claims were down 8,000 last week to 252,000. The four-week average sits at 258,500, down 6,750. Continuing claims were down 36,000 to 2.113 million.
FHFA House Price Index: Home prices were up 0.5% in July, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. This brings the year-on-year growth rate to 5.8%, up 0.1% from the revised rate for June. All nine housing regions posted gains, from 0.2% in the mid-Atlantic to 1.0% in East South Central. In the Pacific, the rate of year-on-year appreciation is at 7.7%.
Existing Home Sales: Existing home sales fell 0.9% in August to 5.33 million annually on a seasonally adjusted basis. They’re still up 0.8% year to year. Single-family sales are down 2.3% for the month and the growth rate has fallen to 0.6% on the year. However, condos were up 10.5% to 630,000 and have gained 1.6% annually. Supply is still very low, down 3.3%. There are 4.6 months worth of supply in the market. Median prices are also down 1.3% to $240,200, up 5.1% on the year.
Mortgage rates were down across the board last week ahead of the Fed announcement regarding short-term interest rates. By the way, if you’re in the market to get a mortgage, you should be positively dancing a jig right now. The Fed left rates where they were, meaning the low-rate environment we’re currently seeing will probably last a while longer. Rates can’t get much lower than where they are right now. Lock in your rate today with Rocket Mortgage℠ by Quicken Loans.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 3.48% with an average 0.6 point for the week ending September 22, 2016, down from last week when they averaged 3.50%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 3.86%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 2.76% with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 2.77%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 3.08%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.80% this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 2.82%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.91%.
Equities were down on Friday as energy stocks pushed lower on falling prices. Some traders were consolidating positions following big gains on Thursday after the Fed stayed put on interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 131.01 points Friday to close at 18,261.45. Despite the loss, the index was still up 0.76% on the week. The S&P 500 was up 1.19% since last Friday’s close, despite being down 12.49 points to finish the week at 2,164.69. The NASDAQ finished the week at 5,305.75, down 33.78 points on the day, but up 1.17% for the week.
The Week Ahead
Monday, September 26
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, September 27
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 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 28
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.
Durable Goods Orders (8:30 a.m. ET) – Durable Goods Orders are based on new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for factory hard goods.
Thursday, September 29
Gross Domestic Product (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.
International Trade in Goods (8:30 a.m. ET) – The Census Bureau’s Bureau of Economic Analysis has begun breaking out the goods from the remaining international trade numbers to get an idea of import and export estimates for GDP calculations.
Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. ET) – New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals filing 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.
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.
Personal Income and Outlays (8:30 a.m. ET) – This measures all possible income sources as well as public expenditures.
Consumer Sentiment (10:00 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.
Next week is absolutely chock full of important economic releases, and we’ll have it all right here. If the idea of economics and mortgage rates sends you into a deep slumber, we have plenty of home, money and lifestyle content to keep you going. Subscribe to the Zing Blog below!
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