The Housing Chronicles Blog

Friday, May 25, 2018

April durable goods orders dipped 1.7 percent due to decline in aviation

Although durable-goods orders fell 1.7% April, that decline was mostly due to falling orders for planes.  Orders minus transportation rose 0.9%, for the third consecutive monthly gain.


May consumer sentiment slips to 98.0 on smaller expected income gains

Consumer sentiment slipped by less than an Index-point from last month. Since Trump's election, the Sentiment Index has meandered in a tight eight-point range from 93.4 to 101.4, with the small month-to-month variations indicating no emerging trend.

Consumers have remained focused on expected gains in jobs and incomes as well as anticipated increases in interest rates and inflation during the year ahead. As past expansions have shown, rising interest rates do not suppress spending gains as long as they are accompanied by more substantial increases in incomes.

The May survey, however, found that consumers anticipated smaller income gains than a month or year ago, even though they anticipate the unemployment rate to stabilize at its current eighteen year low. Importantly, references to discounted prices for durables, vehicles, and homes fell to decade lows.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Initial unemployment claims rise 11,000 in most recent week

In the week ending May 19, initial unemployment claims were 234,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week's revised level. The 4-week moving average was 219,750, an increase of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average.


Mortgage applications fall 2.6 percent, rates rise to highest level since April 2011

The Market Composite Index decreased 2.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans down 2.0 percent and refinances falling 4.0 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to its highest level since April 2011, 4.86 percent.


Bloomberg: Consumer comfort rebounds for first time in five weeks

U.S. household sentiment improved for the first time in five weeks on more upbeat views about personal finances and the economy, with the index rising from 54.6 to 55.2.


FOMC meeting minutes indicate more interest rate hikes ahead in 2018

After assessing current conditions and the outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, members agreed to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 percent. They noted that the stance of monetary policy remained accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.


FHFA: First quarter 2018 home prices rose 1.7 percent, up 6.9 percent year-on-year

U.S. house prices rose 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2018 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI).   House prices rose 6.9 percent from the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018. FHFA's seasonally adjusted monthly index for March was up 0.1 percent from February.


April existing home sales slipped again year-on-year due to lack of supply

Total existing-home sales decreased 2.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in April from 5.60 million in March. With last month's decline, sales are now 1.4 percent below a year ago and have fallen year-over-year for two straight months.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Gallup: Optimism about finding quality jobs hits 17-year high

Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe that now is a good time to find a quality job in the U.S., the highest percentage in 17 years of Gallup polling. Optimism about the availability of good jobs has grown by 25 percentage points since Donald Trump was elected president.


May IHS Markit Composite Output Index rises to 55.7, highest in three months

At 55.7 in May, up from 54.9 in April, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index was the highest for three months and well above the crucial 50.0 no-change value. A faster rise in service sector output was the key factor behind the acceleration.


April new home sales dipped 1.5 percent from March, up 11.6 percent year-on-year

Sales of new single-family houses in April 2018 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 662,000. This is 1.5 percent below the revised March rate of 672,000, but is 11.6 percent above the April 2017 estimate of 593,000.


Monday, May 21, 2018

May Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey rose strongly from April

Results from the May Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest a pickup in growth of the region's manufacturing sector, with the diffusion index for current general activity increasing 11 points, from 23.2 in April to 34.4 this month.


May Empire State Manufacturing Survey suggests stronger growth from April

Business activity grew strongly in New York State in May, with the headline general business conditions index climbing four points to 20.1, indicating a faster pace of growth than in April.


National Activity Index rose slightly in April

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) ticked up to +0.34 in April from +0.32 in March. The index's three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased to +0.46 in April from +0.23 in March.


Business inflation expectations dip to 2.0 percent in May update

Firms' inflation expectations decreased from 2.3 to 2.0 percent over the year ahead. Sales levels went unchanged, remaining "above normal," on average. Profit margins improved slightly, and year-over-year unit costs decreased to 1.9 percent, on average.