In the News
The monthly National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index was unchanged in November at 54. An index reading above 50 indicates positive sentiment about the housing market.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending November 15 fell 2.3%. Purchase volume rose 6%. Refinancing applications decreased 7%.
Existing home sales fell 3.2% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million units. Compared to a year ago, existing home sales were up 6% in October. The inventory of unsold existing homes on the market fell 1.8% to 2.13 million in October, a 5-month supply at the current sales pace.
Retail sales rose 0.4% to $428.1 billion in October. This follows a flat reading in September. Compared to a year ago, retail sales have increased 3.9% in October.
Consumer prices fell 0.1% in October, following a 0.2% increase in September. Compared to a year ago, consumer prices have risen 0.9% in October. Consumer prices at the core rate — excluding volatile food and energy prices — were up 0.1% in October.
Total business sales increased 0.2% to $1.299 trillion in September, up 2.9% from a year ago. Total business inventories also rose 0.6% to $1.679 trillion in September, up 3.1% from a year ago. The total business inventories/sales ratio in September was 1.29.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending November 16 fell by 21,000 to 323,000. Continuing claims for the week ending November 9 rose by 66,000 to 2.876 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 338,500.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on pending home sales on November 25 and housing starts and the housing price index on November 26.