Last week’s economic scheduled economic news included readings on sales of previously-owned homes, housing starts, and building permits issued. Readings on the Consumer Price Index, which tracks inflation, were also released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
Sales of previously-owned homes fall in November
The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer sales of previously-owned homes in November than in October. 4.09 million previously-owned homes were sold year-over-year in November as compared to 4.43 million sales reported in October. This was the tenth consecutive month showing fewer sales of previously-owned homes. Although mortgage rates and home prices have eased recently, it will take additional time for would-be buyers to adjust their budgets during and after the winter holiday season.
The Commerce Department reported 1.34 million building permits issued in November; analysts expected a reading of 1.48 million permits issued as compared to October’s reading of 1.51 million permits issued. The onset of winter weather typically impacts building permits issued and rising concerns about inflation and recession also sidelined home builders who took a “wait-and-see” position about current economic conditions.
Housing starts were unchanged in November with 1.43 million housing starts reported on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected a reading of 1.40 million starts in November.
Mortgage Rates. Inflation, and Jobless Claims
Freddie Mac reported mixed readings for average mortgage rates last week as the average for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by four basis points to 6.27 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 15 basis points to 5.69 percent.
Month-to-month inflation rose by 0.10 percent in November as compared to an increase of 0.40 percent in October. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 15 basis points to 5.69 percent.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.20 percent as compared to October’s month-to-month increase of 0.30 percent. Year-over-year inflation rose by 5.50 percent in November as compared to October’s year-over-year inflation rate of 6.10 percent.
216,000 first-time jobless claims were filed last week, which fell short of the expected reading of 220,000 initial claims filed but surpassed the prior week’s reading of 214,000 new jobless claims filed. The final consumer sentiment report for December showed an index reading of 59.7 as compared to the expected reading of 59.1 and November’s index reading of 59.1.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on U.S. housing markets, pending home sales, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.