EconUpdate by P. Duffy
New home sales rise 4.3 percent in January, up 19.3 percent year-on-year
Sales of new single-family houses in January 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 923,000. This is 4.3 percent above the revised December rate of 885,000 and is 19.3 percent above the January 2020 estimate of 774,000. The estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 307,000. This represents a
supply of 4.0 months at the current sales rate, down from 4.1 months in December and 5.0 months year-on-year.
Case-Shiller Index up 10.4 percent year-on-year, highest annual gain in nearly 7 years
The Case-Shiller Index was up 10.4 percent year-on-year in December 2020, up from a 9.5 percent annual gain the previous month to the highest gain in nearly 7 years. It’s also one of the sharpest annual gains in the history of the index dating back to 1987. The index rose 1.3 percent from November after seasonal adjustments.
February consumer confidence rebounds to 91.3 after three months of declines
After three months of consecutive declines in the Present Situation Index, consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in February, rising 2.4 points to 91.3. This course reversal suggests economic growth has not slowed further. While the Expectations Index fell marginally in February, consumers remain cautiously optimistic, on the whole, about the outlook for the coming months. Notably, vacation intentions—particularly, plans to travel outside the U.S. and via air—saw an uptick this month, and are poised to improve further as vaccination efforts expand.
Purchase apps dip 12 percent from previous week, but still up 7 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications decreased 11.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 12 percent (but up 7 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 11 percent (but up 50 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.08 percent from 2.98 percent.