Last week’s economic reports included the NAHB Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, and Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates. Other news included the weekly jobless claims report and consumer sentiment for April.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that April’s Housing Market Index rose from a reading of 52 in March to 56 for April. This is in line with warmer weather and the peak home buying season in spring and summer. Readings over 50 indicate that more builders view market conditions as positive as those who do not. NAHB members cited lower mortgage rates and better labor market conditions as reasons they expect more home buyers to enter the market.
Last weekâs economic news included the minutes from the most recent FOMC meeting, which indicated that the Fedâs monetary policymakers are eyeing a potential increase in the target federal funds rate, but donât expect to do so immediately.
The minutes of the March meeting of the Fedâs Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) were released Tuesday and included a staff review of current economic conditions. The minutes noted that while labor markets continued to grow, inflation to the Fedâs target rate of 2.00 percent was impeded by dropping fuel prices. The Committee noted that expectations for longer-term inflation remained stable.
Mortgage rates ticked upward for fixed rate loans and were unchanged for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages according to Freddie Mac. Weekly jobless claims were lower in spite of slower job growth reports.
According to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index report for January, home prices grew by 4.50 percent year-over-year as compared to January 2014âs year-over-year price growth rate of 10.50 percent. This was the lowest rate of home price growth since 2012.
Last week’s economic reports included reports on new and existing home sales and FHFA’s monthly home price index for properties associated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. The details:
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that home prices rose by a seasonally-adjusted rate of 0.30 percent in January, and were 5.10 percent higher as compared to home prices in January 2014. FHFA oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and its home price report is based on sales of homes financed by mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Last weekâs events included the National Association of Home Builderâs Housing Market Index, which fell to its lowest reading since last summer. Other news included reports on housing starts and building permits, the FOMC meeting statement and Fed Chair Janet Yellenâs press conference.
The post-meeting statement of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee indicated that while the Fed is considering raising its target rate as early as June, the agency is in no hurry to cast anything in cement. The statement cited stronger labor markets and low unemployment rates as encouraging, but noted that FOMC members remain concerned about economic growth due to low inflation failing to meet the FOMC goal of two percent.