In the News
The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in March rose 7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,036,000 units. Single-family starts decreased 4.8%. Volatile multifamily starts rose 31.1%. Compared to the previous year, housing starts were up 46.7% in March. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 3.9% to an annual rate of 902,000 units.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending April 12 rose 4.8%. Refinancing applications increased 5%. Purchase volume rose 4%, the highest level since May 2010.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo monthly housing market index fell two points in April to 42. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.
Consumer prices fell 0.2% in March, following a 0.7% increase in February. Compared to March 2012, consumer prices have risen 1.5%. Consumer prices at the core rate — excluding volatile food and energy prices — were up 0.1% in March.
Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities rose 0.4% in March after a 1.1% increase in February. Compared to March 2012, industrial production has increased 1.9%. Capacity utilization rose to 78.5% in March from 78.3% in February.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending April 13 rose by 4,000 to 352,000. Continuing claims for the week ending April 6 fell by 35,000 to 3.06 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 361,250.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on existing home sales on April 22, new home sales on April 23 and gross domestic product on April 26.