Weekly Economic Review: Pending Home Sales, First-Time Buyers Up in March

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/6/15 3:00 PM

Topics: Economy

Pending home sales increased in February overall with the Midwest and West regions showing strong gains. The year-over-year pending home sales are up 12 percent which is a 6th straight increase. The data released last Monday showed an important positive about first-time buyers in the housing market; first-time buyers increased 1 percent, which is the first uptick since November 2014.


Consumer confidence is up and near January’s 7 ½ year high due to an increase in the expectations component. The March expectations component is at its highest since February 2011 and reflects expected gains in income and the employment sector. Initial jobless claims also fell, supporting signs of an improving labor market.

Last week in the economy:

  • The S&P 500 started the week at 2,061, increasing 0.29% and ended the week at 2,067.
  • Mortgage rates (the national average) fell 0.08% (8 basis points) last week. 
  • Pending Home Sales picked up steam in February with a stronger-than-expected 3.1% gain on top of a 1.2% revised gain in January.
  • Consumer Confidence jumped to 101.3 in March from an upwardly revised 98.8 in February.
  • MBA Mortgage Applications increased sharply for the second week in a row. Purchase applications rose 6% the week of March 27, with refinances up 4%.
  • Initial Jobless Claims fell sharply in the last week of March, down 20,000 to 268,000. Apart from January’s 267,000, this is the lowest reading since April 2000.
  • Payroll jobs increased only 126,000 in March. Market expectations for March were for a 247,000 increase.

What's on the economic calendar for the week of April 6, 2015:

  • Tuesday: Consumer Credit will be released.
  • Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications data will be released.
  • Thursday: Jobless Claims and Consumer Comfort Index will be issued.

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