In the News
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending September 13 rose 11.2%. Purchase volume rose 3%. Refinancing applications increased 18%.
Existing home sales rose 1.7% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million units, the highest pace since February 2007. Compared to a year ago, existing home sales were up 13.2% in August. The inventory of unsold existing homes on the market rose 0.4% to 2.25 million in August, a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace.
The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in August rose 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000 units. Single-family starts increased 7%. Volatile multifamily starts fell 11.1%. Compared to the previous year, housing starts were up 19% in August. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 3.8% to an annual rate of 918,000 units.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo monthly housing market index was unchanged in September at 58. An index reading above 50 indicates positive sentiment about the housing market.
Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities rose 0.4% in August after a flat reading in July. Compared to August 2012, industrial production has increased 2.7%. Capacity utilization rose to 77.8% in August from 77.6% in July.
Consumer prices rose 0.1% in August, following a 0.2% increase in July. Compared to August 2012, consumer prices have risen 1.5%. Consumer prices at the core rate — excluding volatile food and energy prices — were also up 0.1% in August.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending September 14 rose by 15,000 to 309,000. Continuing claims for the week ending September 7 fell by 28,000 to 2.787 million, a new recovery low. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 314,750, the lowest level since October 2007.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on September 24, new home sales on September 25and pending home sales on September 26.