Last week’s economic reporting included readings on home prices, sales of new homes, and pending home sales. Monthly and year-over-year readings for inflation were published along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
February S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Indices show slower home price growth
National home prices continued to rise in February, but at a slower pace according to S&P Case-Shiller home price indices. Month-to-month home prices rose by 0.40 percent in February and matched analysts’ expectations, but were lower than January’s reading of 2.50 percent home price growth.
S&P Case-Shiller’s 20-city home price index, which is frequently used by real estate professionals for tracking housing markets, rose by 0.10 percent month-to-month in February. This was the first time home prices rose in eight months.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported an increase of 0.50 percent in home prices for homes owned and sold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.Properties owned and sold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are subject to loan limits and underwriting rules used by the two agencies.
In related news, the National Association of Realtors® reported pending home sales fell by -5.20 percent in March compared to the expected reading of 0.50 percent growth and February’s reading of 0.80 percent in pending sales.
Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported mixed movement on mortgage rates as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by four basis points to 6.43 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by five basis points and averaged 5.71 percent.
Initial jobless claims fell to 230,000 claims compared to the expected reading of 246,000 claims and the previous week’s reading of 245,000 claims. Continuing jobless claims fell to 1.86 million filings from the prior week’s reading of 1.87 million ongoing claims.
The University of Michigan reported no change in consumer responses to its consumer sentiment survey for April. The index reading of 63.5 for March was unchanged in April and also matched analysts’ forecasts.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on construction spending, the Federal Open Market Committee’s scheduled statement, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s post-meeting press conference. Readings on public and private-sector employment and national unemployment are also scheduled for release.