Last week’s economic reports included the National Association of Home Builders Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, Housing Starts for December and the FHFA Home Price Index report for November. Freddie Mac and the Department of Commerce released their weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) Wells Fargo Housing Market Index reported that homebuilder confidence in sales conditions for single-family homes declined one point to a reading of 57. The NAHB Housing Market Index measures home builder confidence based on builder opinions of current market conditions, future market conditions and buyer foot traffic in new homes.
Last week’s scheduled economic news was mixed. Job openings increased and jobless claims increased, and consumer sentiment rose. Mortgage rates fell across the board. Labor market conditions improved and consumer prices fell in large part due to decreasing fuel prices.
Last week’s economic news was dominated by labor reports and FHA’s announcement that it will lower its mortgage insurance premiums in an effort to make homes more affordable for first-time and moderate income home buyers. Mortgage rates fell last week as employment reports showed strengthening job markets.
The minutes of the Fedâs Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) indicate that Fed policymakers arenât concerned about low inflation rates as an obstacle to raising the target federal funds rate.
Case-Shiller reported that home prices hit their lowest pace in two years. According to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for October, home prices fell in 10 cities, rose in eight cities and were unchanged in two cities. In other news, pending home sales increased and weekly jobless claims rose.
Last weekâs economic news included several housing related reports. Housing markets continue to cool as November reports on existing and new home sales fell below expectations. New Jobless claims were lower than expected by 10,000 claims.
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.
Last week’s scheduled economic events were few but informative. Housing related reports included the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for December, which stayed close to a nine-year high reading of 59 in September. December’s reading was 57 and fell two points shy of the expected reading of 59.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said in its last statement for 2014 that although economic conditions have improved at a moderate pace, the Fed believes that the target federal funds rate of between 0.00 and 0.25 percent remains “appropriate.” While labor markets show expanding job growth and lower unemployment rates, FOMC members noted that housing markets are recovering slowly.