Last week’s economic reporting included readings on new and pending home sales, minutes from the Federal Reserve’s recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting, and data on inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
New and Pending Home Sales Fall
The annual pace of new home sales fell in April according to the Commerce Department. Year-over-year sales of new homes fell to a pace of 591,000 sales as compared to the March reading of 709,000 sales of new homes. Analysts expected a year-over-year pace of 750,000 new home sales in April. Rising home prices and mortgage rates challenged first-time and moderate-income home buyers, which caused falling sales.
Readings for pending home sales fell by -3.90 percent in April; analysts expected a reading of -2.00 percent based on the March reading of -1.60 percent. High home prices and recently rising mortgage rates cooled prospective buyers’ interest as concerns over rising inflation and economic conditions sidelined low and moderate-income home buyers. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said that rising mortgage rates have increased monthly mortgage payments by as much as $500. A secondary effect of fewer home sales is fewer sales of goods and services associated with home ownership.
The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee minutes documented the Fed’s decision to raise its key interest rate range to 0.75 to 1.00 percent. FOMC members expect ongoing rate range increases as the Fed continues its efforts to control inflation.
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for the second consecutive week. Rates for 30year fixed rate mortgages fell by 15 basis points to 5.10 percent and rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell by 12 basis points to 4.31 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by 12 basis points to 4.20 percent. Discount points averaged 0.90 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.80 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rates averaged 0.30 percent.
New jobless claims fell to 210,000 claims filed from the prior week’s reading of 218,000 initial claims filed. Analysts expected 215,000 new jobless claims. Continuing jobless claims rose to 1.35 million ongoing claims filed as compared to 1.32 million ongoing claims filed.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell to an index reading of 58.40 in May as compared to April’s reading of 59.10. Readings over 50 are considered positive.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on home prices and construction spending along with labor sector readings on job growth and the national unemployment rate.