11/23: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

October existing home sales rise 2.0 percent during month but still down 0.9 percent year-on-year

Existing-home sales increased in October by 2.0 percent to their strongest pace since earlier this summer, but continual supply shortages led to fewer closings on an annual basis for the second straight month.  After last month’s increase, sales are at their strongest pace since June (5.51 million), but still remain 0.9 percent below a year ago.



November consumer sentiment dips from October’s decade peak but still at high levels

Consumer sentiment narrowed its loss from mid-month, although it was still slightly below last month’s decade peak. Overall, the Sentiment Index has remained largely unchanged since the start of the year at the highest levels since 2004. Overall, the data signal an expected gain of 2.7% in real consumption expenditures in 2018, and more importantly for retailers, the best runup to the holiday shopping season in a decade.



October Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose sharply in September

Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) rose to +0.65 in October from +0.36 in September. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased to +0.28 in October from +0.01 in September.



Mortgage applications rise 0.1 percent in latest survey

The Market Composite Index increased by 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 5.0 percent and refinances declining the same amount. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances increased to 4.20 percent.



Initial unemployment claims fall by 13,000 in most recent report

In the week ending November 18, initial unemployment claims were 239,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 239,750, an increase of 1,250 from the previous week’s revised average.


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