In this week’s economic review, home prices jumped, consumer spending and sentiment increased, and pending home sales gained traction.
According to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, prices are bubbling a bit. The January report beat high-end estimates with a 0.8 percent monthly gain, pushing the year-over-year rate to plus 6.4 percent. This matches November 2017’s three and a half year high.
Prices are growing the fastest on the west coast with year-over-year gains of 12.9 percent in Seattle and 11.1 percent in Las Vegas. Chicago and Washington D.C. are on the tail-end of price appreciation, both at plus 2.4 percent.
March consumer confidence eased back slightly in March from a revised level of 130.0 in February to 127.7. Despite the drop, only 14.9 percent of respondents say that jobs are hard to get.
Weakness was centered in stock market confidence which stood at 34.5 percent versus 40.1 percent in February and 51 percent in January.
The third estimate of fourth quarter GDP was revised 4 tenths higher to a 2.9 percent annualized rate. Consumer spending rose 0.2 percent to a 4.0 percent rate, meaning spending has increased at its fastest pace in three years.
Pending Home Sales
After struggling to gain ground, February pending home sales are shedding a little light on future sales. Pending sale rose a sharp 3.1 percent in February after a downwardly revised 5.0 percent drop in January.
Consumer sentiment finished March strong with a reading of 101.4, a 14-year high. The current conditions component also hit a record level of 121.2 with a 6.3-point monthly gain.
This week in the economy:
- As of March 29th, the 30-year average fixed rate was 4.44% with 0.5 points, according to Freddie Mac.
- In the week of March 23rd, the purchase sector of mortgage applications rose a seasonally adjusted 3 percent. The refinance sector increased 7 percent in the week, raising the refinance share of mortgage activity to still-low 39.4 percent.
- In the week of March 24th, initial jobless fell 12,000 higher to 215,000, the lowest level in 45 years. The 4-week average is down slightly to 224,500 and trending similar to the month-ago comparison.
- The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was unchanged at a level of 56.8 in the week of March 25th.
The economic calendar for the week of April 2nd, 2018:
- Wednesday – MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report
- Thursday – Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
- Friday – Employment Situation
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