The first week of 2016 was quiet concerning housing and mortgage related news, but reports on construction spending and several labor-related reports were released.
2015 said farewell with reports on Case Shiller home prices, pending home sales, and consumer confidence.
This week’s report of economic events is shortened due to the Christmas holiday. Economic news through Wednesday included Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales and Consumer Spending.
November sales of pre-owned homes dipped lower than expected and prior monthâs readings according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Analysts expected existing home sales to slow to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.30 million sales, which was based on Octoberâs reading of 5.32 million sales. Instead, Novemberâs reading dropped to 4.76 million sales. Novemberâs drop represented a decline of 10.50 percent drop in existing home sales month-to-month; existing home sales were 3.80 percent lower year-over-year.
Last week’s scheduled economic reports included the NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, FOMC statement and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s press conference. In addition to weekly reports on jobless claims and mortgage rates, inflation reports were also released.
After prolonged speculation by economic analysts and news media, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the first time in seven years. Committee members voted to raise the target federal funds rate to a range of 0.25 to 0.50 percent from a range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent to be effective December 17.
Last week’s scheduled economic releases included reports on job openings, retail sales and consumer confidence in addition to usual weekly releases on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
Multiple economic reports released last week indicate further improvement in economic conditions. Pending home sales, construction spending and ADP payrolls increased while Non-farm Payrolls fell and the national unemployment rate held steady.
Although last weekâs economic calendar was cut short by the Thanksgiving holiday, several housing-related reports were released. The FHFA reported on third quarter results for its Housing Market Index and the Commerce Department reported on new home sales for October. Freddie Mac released its weekly report on mortgage rates and data on new weekly jobless claims was also released.
Sales of previously owned homes reached 5.36 million sales on a seasonally adjusted annual basis and fell by 3.40 percent in October according to the National Association of Realtors. Rising home prices and a shortage of available homes strained housing markets. Concerns over potentially higher mortgage rates may have sidelined home buyers as concerns over an anticipated rate hike by the Federal Reserve persisted.