In the News
New home sales rose 7.9% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000 units. On a year-over-year basis, new home sales were 12.6% higher than August 2012. At the current sales pace, there is a 5-month supply of new homes on the market.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending September 20 rose 5.5%. Purchase volume rose 7%. Refinancing applications increased 5%.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index — on a non-seasonally adjusted basis — rose 1.8% in July after a 2.2% increase in June. On a year-over-year basis, when compared with July 2012, prices rose 12.4%.
Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, fell 1.6% in August. On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales were 5.8% higher than August 2012.
The consumer confidence index fell to 79.7 in September from 81.8 in August. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.
Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — increased $0.3 billion, or 0.1%, to $224.9 billion in August. This follows an 8.1% decrease in July. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, August orders posted a monthly decrease of 0.1%.
The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 2.5% in the second quarter of 2013. This follows a 1.1% pace of growth in the first quarter of 2013.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending September 21 fell by 5,000 to 305,000. Continuing claims for the week ending September 14 rose by 35,000 to 2.823 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 308,000, the lowest level since June 2007.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending on October 1 and factory orders on October 3.