Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes along with weekly data on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
Home Sales Increase in November
Sales of new and previously-owned homes rose in November. The Commerce Department reported sales of new homes rose to 744,000 sales on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. October sales of new homes were revised to a year-over-year reading of 662,000 new homes sold, which was the lowest reading since the worst stage of the pandemic in April 2020. Analysts expected a year-over-year reading of 766,000 new homes sold for November. The median price of new homes sold in October reached a record high of $416,900.The number of homes for sale fell by 8.50 percent between October and November and represented a 6.50 month supply of new homes for sale.
Sales of previously-owned homes also rose in November with 6.46 million sales on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. November’s reading fell short of the expected reading of 6.50 million sales of previously-owned homes but surpassed October’s reading of 6.34 million sales.
Rising numbers of mortgage applications indicated that demand for homes remains high, but mortgage rates are expected to rise in 2022. Given rising home prices, the additional challenge of higher mortgage rates will negatively impact affordability for some prospective home buyers.
Mortgage Rates Fall, Jobless Claims Data Mixed
Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by seven basis points to 3.05 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.30 percent and were four basis points lower than for the previous week. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.37 percent and eight basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims held steady at 205,000 new claims filed last week. Analysts expected a reading of 206,000 first-time claims filed. Continuing jobless claims fell to 1.86 million ongoing claims from the previous week’s reading of 1.87 million continuing jobless claims filed.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose to an index reading of 70.6 and exceeded the expected reading of 70.4, which matched November’s reading.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and data on pending home sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.