Last week’s economic reporting included readings on home prices, new and pending home sales, and the post-meeting statement of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Price Growth Breaks Records for Second Consecutive Month
National home prices grew by 16.60 percent year-over-year in May according to S&P Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index. April’s reading reported year-over-year home price growth of 14.80 percent. Home price growth broke records for the second month in a row in May. S&P Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index reported top home price growth in Phoenix, Arizona, Seattle, Washington, and San Diego, California again held the top three positions for US home price growth.
Home price growth exceeded expectations in the months since the covid pandemic arose as homeowners and homebuyers sought to relocate to less populated areas. Demand for homes continued to exceed inventories of homes for sale; this trend has driven home prices beyond the reach of many first-time and moderate-income buyers. While affordability issues won’t be solved overnight, some slowing in home prices growth suggested that the national housing boom was easing as demand for homes slowed. Affordability became an obstacle for homebuyers who could not compete with rapidly escalating home prices, high demand for homes, and buyers prepared to make cash offers.
New and Pending Home Sales Fall
Rapidly rising home prices and few choices among available homes caused new home sales and pending home sales to fall in June. Homebuyers were frustrated with low inventories of homes and high home prices. Pending home sales fell by 1.90 percent in June; analysts expected an increase of 0.50 percent for pending home sales. Pending home sales in May rose by 8.30 percent.
June sales of new homes fell to a year-over-year pace of 676,000 sales as compared to May’s reading of 724,000 sales of new homes. Analysts expected a year-over-year sales pace of 795,000 new homes sold. This was the lowest pace for sales of new homes since the onset of the pandemic.
Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Mixed
Freddie Mac reported mixed changes in average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.80 percent, but the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by two basis points to 2.10 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by four basis points to 2.45 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
New jobless claims fell to 400,000 first-time claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 424,000 claims filed. Continuing jobless claims rose to 3.27 million ongoing claims filed last week as compared to 3.26 million ongoing jobless claims filed in the previous week.
The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced that it did not raise the Federal Reserve’s key target interest rate range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index for July was released with an index reading of 81.2; a reading of 80.5 was expected based on June’s index reading of 80.8.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on construction spending and labor sector readings on jobs growth and national unemployment. Weekly reporting on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.