In the News
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo monthly housing market index rose eight points in June to 52. This marks the first time the index has been above 50 since April 2006. An index reading above 50 indicates positive sentiment about the housing market.
Consumer prices rose 0.1% in May, following a 0.4% decrease in April. Compared to May 2012, consumer prices have risen 1.4%. Consumer prices at the core rate — excluding volatile food and energy prices — were up 0.2% in May.
The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in May rose 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 856,000 units. Single-family starts increased 0.3%. Volatile multifamily starts rose 21.6%. Compared to the previous year, housing starts were up 28.6% in May. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 3.1% to an annual rate of 974,000 units.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending June 14 fell 3.3%. Purchase volume fell 3%. Refinancing applications also decreased 3%.
Existing home sales rose 4.2% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million units from 4.97 million units in April. Compared to a year ago, existing home sales were up 12.9% in May. The inventory of unsold homes on the market rose 3.3% to 2.22 million in May, a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 5.2-month supply in April.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending June 15 rose by 18,000 to 354,000. Continuing claims for the week ending June 8 fell by 40,000 to 2.951 million, a new recovery low. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 348,250.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on June 25 and pending home sales on June 27.