Economic News in Review Greenville SC
Here is last week’s Economic News in Review Greenville SC.
Sales of existing homes slumped, but new home sales grew. Meanwhile, lay-offs fell more than expected.
Existing Home Sales
Sales of existing homes in November dipped to their lowest volume since April 2014, according to data released last week by the National Association of Realtors. Total transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 10.5 percent to an annual rate of 4.76 million in November. Compared annually, November’s existing home sales were 3.8 percent lower than in November 2014, marking the first year-over-year decline since September 2014.
The drop could be chalked up to a combination of factors, including high prices and limited inventory, as well as the closing dates for some transactions getting pushed into December, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
“It's possible the longer timeframes pushed a latter portion of would-be November transactions into December,” Yun said. “As long as closing timeframes don't rise even further, it's likely more sales will register to this month's total, and November's large dip will be more of an outlier.”
Looking at the housing supply, the median price for existing homes in November was $220,300, which was 6.3 percent higher than November 2014. The housing inventory of existing homes for sale at the end of November dipped 3.3 percent to 2.04 million units, which represented a 5.1-month supply at November’s sales rate.
New Homes Sales
Meanwhile, sales of new single-family homes grew 4.3 in November to hit an annual rate of 490,000 units, the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported last week. Compared annually, November’s sales were 9.1 percent higher than November 2014’s pace of 449,000 units.
While the numbers were up, they were still off from market expectations of an annual rate of 505,000 for November. That said, analysts still seemed to agree that housing was seeing a recovery.
“The new-home sales series has been choppy lately, but it looks like the trend has been softening since the peak of the expansion reported for February,” J.P. Morgan Chase Economist Daniel Silver wrote in a client statement. “Some other sales-related measures have also been soft lately, but we still think that the housing market will continue to recover over time.”
Looking at the price and inventory, November’s median sales price for new homes was $305,000 and the average sales price was $374,900. The supply of new homes available for sale in November totaled 232,000, which represented 5.7-month supply at November’s sales pace.
Initial Jobless Claims
Turning to the job market, lay-offs enjoyed a larger-than-expected drop during the week ending December 19. First-time claims for unemployment benefits filed during the week dipped to 267,000 claims, a decline of 5,000 claims from the prior week’s total of 272,000, according to last week’s report from the Employment and Training Administration. Employment analysts had expected a total of 271,000 claims.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average — considered a more stable measure of lay-offs —ticked up to hit 272,500, a gain of 1,750 claims from the preceding week’s average of 270,750.
Economic News in Review Greenville SC
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