Daily News- 11/20/14

November 20, 2014

Thursday – November 20

The housing market received good news this morning as the National Association of REALTORS® reported that Existing Home Sales in October rose by 1.5% from September. Sales came in at an annual rate of 5.26 million units, which was above the 5.17 million expected. Buyers have been encouraged by the low interest rate environment and an improving job market. The 5.26 million units are at their highest annual rate since September 2013. Existing Home Sales measures sales and prices of existing single family homes for the nation overall and gives breakdowns for the West, Midwest, South and Northeast regions of the country. These figures include condos and co-ops, in addition to single-family homes.

Inflation at the consumer level remained on the tame side in October, mainly due to declining gas prices at the pumps, which offset a rise in housing and healthcare. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was unchanged in October from September, which was just above the -0.1% expected. The so-called Core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy, rose by 0.2%, above the 0.1% expected. The CPI measures changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services.

Business activity surged in the Philadelphia region soared this month to levels not seen in 21 years, signaling that the economy continues to recover. The Philly Fed Index rose to 40.8 this month, a level not seen since late 1993, which is well above the 18.3 expected, and up from the 20.7 recorded in October. The index has now been positive for nine straight months. Both the new orders and shipment indexes rose from the readings seen in October, while the employment index rose 10 points to 22.4, a 3 1/2 year high.