Housing, Existing Homes Sales, Jobless Claims

October 22, 2015

Thursday – October 22

Housing data was in the news today as the sector continues to see improvement. The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported today that its House Price Index (HPI) showed that home prices rose 0.3% in August from July. From August 2014 to August 2015, house prices were up 5.5%. The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The National Association of REALTORS┬« (NAR) reported on Thursday that Existing Home Sales in September rose 4.7% from August to an annual rate of 5.55 million units, above the 5.39 million expected. All four major regions of the country experienced sales gains in September. Sales are up nearly 9% from September 2014. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said, “September home sales bounced back solidly after slowing in August and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million).”

Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits remained near 42-year lows in the latest week as the sector continues to improve. The Labor Department reported that Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose by 3,000 in the latest week to 259,000, below the 265,000 expected. Claims have remained historically low as employers continue to retain workers, though the pace of new hires has eased a bit amid weakness in the oil sector and manufacturing.