Last week’s economic releases included readings on new home sales, pending home sales and Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Construction spending and consumer sentiment reports were also released, along with weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
Last week’s weeks economic releases included readings on the NAHB Housing Market Index, housing starts and building permits issued and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Last week’s housing related news was limited to Construction Spending and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates survey, but labor reports suggested an economic slowdown may be in the works.
In its post-meeting statement, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise the current federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent. Although FOMC members acknowledged further improvement in the U.S. economy and jobs markets.
Home buyers kicked the spring home shopping season into gear and boosted sales of pre-owned homes in March.
Last week’s economic calendar was full of new releases including pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and construction spending. Labor related reports including ADP payrolls, federal Non-farm payrolls, and the national unemployment rate were also released along with reports on consumer confidence and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.
Home prices were 5.70 percent higher year-over-year in January according to S&P Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index. Top year-over-year gains were posted by Portland, Oregon at 11.80 percent, San Francisco, California at 10.80 percent and Seattle Washington posted a year-over-year gain of 10.70 percent.
New home rose in February according to the Commerce Department. Based on a revised reading of 502,000 new home sales in January, February’s reading was 2.00 percent higher than January’s reading, but was 6.10 percent lower than for February 2015.
Builders have held back on increasing construction due to concerns about ups and downs in the economic recovery. Short supplies of labor and available land have also kept home builders from meeting current demand.
Shortages of available homes are a major factor in rising home prices; shortages also make it more difficult for buyers to find homes they want. Housing starts in February rose, which is good news for the peak spring and summer home buying season.
According to a press release by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the current target federal funds rate will hold steady at 0.25 to 0.50 percent. Committee members cited positive developments in the U.S economy including jobs growth, stronger labor markets and gradually increasing inflation. In addition, stronger housing sector and household spending were also noted as positive signs for the economy. Committee members cited risks associated with global economic and financial developments as a concern.