Last week’s economic reporting included readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes, inflation, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims. President Biden announced his nomination of Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell for a second term. Financial markets were closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Single-Family Home Sales Increase in October
The Commerce Department reported sales of new homes rose in October with 745,000 new homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. October sales fell short of the 800,000 new home sales expected by analysts but surpassed September’s reading of 742,000 new homes sold.
The National Association of Realtors® reported 6.34 million previously owned homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in October. Sales of previously-owned homes rose by 0.80 percent from September to October and exceeded expectations of 6.20 million sales and September’s reading of 6.29 million sales of previously-owned homes. Real estate pros said that high demand for homes and strong job growth contributed to October’s reading.
Slim inventories of homes for sale and rising home prices continued to sideline some buyers; competition with cash buyers also caused difficulties for would-be buyers who relied on mortgage loans. 6.34 million pre-owned homes were sold year-over-year in October and exceeded expectations of 6.20 million sales and September’s reading of 6.29 million pre-owned homes sold.
Lawrence Yun, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors®, said, “Inflationary pressures such as fast rising rents and increasing consumer prices may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed consistent mortgage payment.” Rapidly rising home prices challenged would-be home buyers as the median price for a single-family home rose to $353,900 in October, which was more than 13 percent higher year-over-year. The inventory of available homes equaled September’s inventory with a 2.40 month supply of homes for sale. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of homes for sale as a sign of balanced markets.
Mortgage Rates Little Changed as Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported no change in the average rate of 3.10 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose three basis points to 2.42 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell two basis points to 2.47 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims fell to 199,000 first-time claims filed as compared to the expected reading of 260,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 270,000 first-time jobless claims filed. 2.05 million continuing jobless claims were filed as compared to 2.11 million ongoing claims filed in the prior week.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Indices, along with reporting on pending home sales and construction spending. Public and private-sector job reports and the national unemployment rate will also be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.