MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
November new home sales fall 11.0 percent, but still up 20.8 percent year-on-year
Sales of new single-family houses in November 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 841,000. This is 11.0 percent below the revised October rate of 945,000, but is 20.8 percent above the November 2019 estimate of 696,000. The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 286,000. This represents a supply of 4.1 months at the current sales rate, up from 3.6 months in October but down from 5.6 months in November of 2019.
Purchase mortgage apps up 5 percent from last week and 26 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications increased 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 5 percent (and up 26 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity rising 4 percent (and up 124 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances increased slightly to 2.86 percent.
Initial unemployment claims fall 10 percent to 803,000
In the week ending December 19, initial unemployment claims were 803,000, a decrease of 89,000, or nearly 10 percent, from the previous week’s revised level. Continued claims during the week ending December 12 were 5,337,000, a decrease of 170,000, or 3.1 percent, from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending December 5 was 20,363,675, a decrease of 283,170, or 1.4 percent, from the previous week.
November personal income slips 1.1 percent, personal spending drops 0.4 percent
In November, personal income decreased 1.1 percent, disposable personal income fell 1.2 percent, and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased 0.4 percent. The personal savings rate fell further to 12.9 percent, the lowest level since last March but still several points above pre-pandemic levels.
Inflation tracker PCE price index flat in November, up 1.1 percent year-on-year
The PCE price index had no change in November, and was up 1.1 percent year-on-year. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index had no change in November, and was up 1.4 percent year-on-year.