Last week’s economic reports included monthly readings on housing market conditions, housing starts and building permits issued. Sales of pre-owned homes were released; the Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise its key interest rate range. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Slips in June
The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for June showed builder confidence was two points lower at an index reading of 64. Builders surveyed said ongoing concerns such as lot and labor shortages impacted their outlook, but builders were also concerned over the impact of trade wars and tariffs on the cost of building materials.
Housing starts dipped to 1.27 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in May. April’s reading was 1.28 million starts and surpassed the expected reading of 1.23 million starts. Although housing starts were higher, they were 3 percent lower year to date than for the same period in 2018 and were 4.79 percent lower year-over-year. Building permits issued held steady in May at 1.29 million permits issued; analysts expected a reading of 1.30 million permits issued.
Sales of pre-owned homes were higher in May with 5.34 million sales; 5.28 million sales were expected based on April’s reading of 5.21 million sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that sales of pre-owned homes were 2.50 percent higher than for April, but were 1.10 percent lower year-over-year.
Warmer weather and peak home-buying season contributed to the increase in sales. Lower mortgage rates likely compelled would-be buyers to enter the market. The Federal Reserve did not raise its target interest rate range, which stands at 2.25-2.50 percent. Lenders typically raise rates charged to consumers when the Fed raises its key rate range.
Mortgage Rates Little Changed, New Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported little change in mortgage rates last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.84 percent and rose two basis points week-to-week. Interest rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.25 percent and fell one basis point on average.
The average rate for 5/1 fixed-rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 3.48 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims fell to 216,000 claims from the prior week’s reading of 222,000 new claims filed and expectations of 220,000 initial jobless claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller Indices, readings on sales of new homes, pending home sales and the consumer sentiment index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims are also scheduled.