Last week’s economic news included readings on builder confidence in housing market conditions, housing starts, building permits issued and existing home sales. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released. The National Association of Home Builders reported that home builder confidence fell one point in July to 59 as compared to an expected reading and June reading of 60. Builders again cited shortages of buildable lots and labor.
Housing markets show continued signs of strengthening according to reports released on Wednesday. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®Â® reported that sales of pre-owned homes rose to 5.49 million in June as compared to Mayâs revised reading of 5.32 million pre-owned homes sold and expected sales estimated at 5.42 million sales. Expectations were based on Mayâs original reading of 5.35 million sales. Juneâs reading was the highest since February of 2007. Readings for existing home sales are calculated on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.
Sales of existing homes dropped to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million as compared to expectations of a 5.18 million existing homes sold. Projections were based on October’s reading of 5.25 million.
After months of reports of slowing home price momentum and forecasts of a lagging housing market, we are pleased to report an increase in volume of existing home sales.
Last week’s economic news was dominated by speeches given by Federal Reserve presidents, the minutes from April’s FOMC meeting and commencement address given by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. The latest readings for new and existing home sales were also released.
Home sales rose for the 11th consecutive month according to the National Association of REALTORS® Existing Home Sales Report for January.
Home sales dropped last month, but not because demand was lacking. There are fewer homes for sale than at any time in the last 11 years.
In November, for the second straight month, the Pending Home Sales Index eclipsed its benchmark reading of 100, posting a value of 106.4.
Freddie Mac reported the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate at 3.37 percent — an increase of 0.05 percentage points from the week prior.
According to a joint release from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Housing Starts rose 3.6% in October 2012, climbing to a seasonally-adjusted, annualized rate of 894,000 units.