Weekly Economic Review: Existing Home Sales Up to Highest Rate in 18 Months

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/27/15 2:00 PM

Topics: Economy

Housing data released last week was mostly positive as March Existing Home Sales increased 6.1 percent, the highest rate since September 2013 and near high-end expectations. Sales of single-family homes jumped 5.5% and condos surged 11.1%. All regions showed solid March gains, led by the Midwest with a jump of 10.1%.

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Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

March New Home Sales fell steeply by 11.4% after a 7-year high in February, but new home sales are still 19% higher year-over-year.

The mixed economic data offset mortgage rates with positive housing data pushing rates a little higher and weakness in the details of the March Durable Orders report reversing some of that effect. Average mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

Last week in the economy:

  • The S&P 500 started the week at 2.081, increasing 1.77% and ended the week at 2,118.
  • Mortgage rates (the national average) increased 0.03% (3 basis points).
  • The purchase index of MBA Mortgage Applications was up 5% the week of April 17. (This is the 4th increase in 5 weeks)
  • Existing Home Sales surged 6.1% in March to a annual rate of 5.19 million.
  • Housing Starts are still slow but saw a slight rebound in March after plunging 14.5% in February.
  • Initial Jobless Claims saw little change in the week of April 18, up 1,000 to 295,000. The 4-week average, at 284,500, in comparison to one month ago shows an improvement of more than 20,000.
  • New Home Sales fell steeply by 11.4 percent to an annual rate of 481,000.

What's on the economic calendar for the week of April 27, 2015:

  • Tuesday: Consumer Confidence will be released.
  • Wednesday: The Fed will be meeting. Investors will be looking for indicators of the first federal funds rate hike. MBA Mortgage Applications data will also be updated.
  • Thursday: Jobless Claims will be released.

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