In the News
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 367,000 new homes were sold in 2012. This is 19.9% above the 2011 figure of 306,000.
Existing home sales fell 1% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million units from 4.99 million units in November. Compared to a year ago, existing home sales were up 12.8% in December. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell 8.5% to 1.82 million in December, a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 4.8-month supply in November.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending January 18 rose 7%. Refinancing applications increased 8%. Purchase volume rose 3%, reaching its highest level since May 2010 when the homebuyer tax credit was fueling home purchases.
The index of leading economic indicators — designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months — rose 0.5% in December, following a flat reading in November.
New home sales fell 7.3% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 units from a revised rate of 398,000 units in November. On a year-over-year basis, new home sales were up 8.8% compared with December 2011. At the current sales pace, there’s a 4.9-month supply of new homes on the market.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending January 19 fell by 5,000 to 330,000, the lowest level since January 2008. Continuing claims for the week ending January 12 fell by 71,000 to 3.157 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 351,750, the lowest level since March 2008.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on pending home sales on January 28 and construction spending on February 1.