MBA Mortgage Applications: The level of mortgage applications moved very little last week with the composite index going up 0.1%. A 1.0% rise in purchases was offset by an equal fall in refinance applications. The average rate for a 30-year-fixed mortgage also remained unchanged for the second straight week, holding at 4.23%.
FHFA House Price Index: Home prices were up 0.4% in May, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. April numbers were also revised up to 0.4%. Home prices have increased 5.7% since May of last year. The biggest price appreciation occurred in the East North Central region with a 1.1% gain. Meanwhile, there was a 0.6% decrease in prices in East South Central. On an annual basis, the Pacific region has seen the biggest rise with an 8.4% gain. New England’s prices have only gone up 2.0% since last year.
Existing Home Sales: Existing home sales were up 3.2% in June, coming in at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million. Sales are up 9.6% since June of last year. The median sales price is up 3.3% to $236,400. Shrinking supply is also helping the price hikes with supply down to 5.0 months from 5.1 months in May. Regionally, sales in the Midwest were up 4.7% in June. The South lagged behind with a 2.3% gain. The same phenomenon held true for prices, being up 12.7% for the year in the Midwest and the South bringing up the rear with a 7.3% year-on-year gain.
Jobless Claims: Initial claims fell 26,000 this week to 255,000, a low that has not been seen in 42 years. Auto factories are retooling to get ready to produce new models and the fluctuations in layoffs associated with that are likely causing some volatility in these numbers. The four-week average is down 4,000, coming in at 278,500 jobs. On the continuing claims side of the ledger, claims were down 9,000 this week, coming in at 2.207 million and representing a multi-year low. The four-week average fell 10,000 to 2.254 million.
New Home Sales: New home sales disappointed this month dropping 6.8% to a much lower than expected seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 482,000 in June. Adding to the pain were revisions in May numbers that stripped 29,000 from the gains that month. On the plus side, the supply of new homes available for sale is at 5.4 months vs. 4.8 months previously. The median price of a new home sits at $281,000. This is up 0.5% from last month, but is down 1.8% for the year. Regionally, there were big drops in sales in the West and Midwest, with a smaller decline in the South. On an annual basis, there are still sales gains of 23.7% and 23.1% in the South and Northeast. There have been gains of 10.9% and 5.7% in the West and Midwest.
Fixed rates were down this week, while adjustable rates climbed slightly.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.04% with an average 0.6 point for the week ending July 23, 2015, down from last week when they averaged 4.09%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 4.13%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 3.21% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.25%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 3.26%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.97% this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.96%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.99%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.54% this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.50%. At this time last year, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.39%.
It was a difficult week on the stock market as many companies fell short of earnings expectations.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 163.39 points on Friday to come in at 17,568.53. It’s down 2.86% from last week’s close. The S&P 500 was down 22.50 points, finishing at 2,079.65, a weekly decline of 2.21%. The NASDAQ fell 2.33% on the week, down 57.78 points to close at 5,088.63 on Friday.
The Week Ahead
Monday, July 27
Durable Goods Orders (8:30 a.m. ET) – Durable goods orders are based on the new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for factory hard goods.
Tuesday, July 28
S&P Case-Shiller HPI (9 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 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, July 29
MBA Mortgage Applications (7 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.
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.
Thursday, July 30
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.
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.
Friday, July 31
Consumer Sentiment (10 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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