Home Prices Begin to Cool
Home values are still rising, but the gains have now shrunk to the lowest level since January 2017, as rising mortgage rates cut into affordability. Prices increased 5.5 percent annually in September, down from 5.7 percent in August, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 4.8 percent, down
from 5.2 percent in the previous month. The 20-City Composite rose 5.1 percent year-over-year, down from 5.5 in the previous month. "Home prices plus data on house sales and construction confirm the slowdown in housing," says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "One factor contributing to the weaker housing market is the recent increase in mortgage rates."
Consumer Confidence Dips
Consumer confidence slipped slightly in November as job and wage prospects dimmed, but still remained near historically strong levels, according to data released on Tuesday. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index slipped to 135.7 this month, slightly more than economists had expected. Economists polled by Refinitiv expected the consumer confidence index to slip to 135.9 in November from 137.9 in October. "Consumers' assessment of current conditions increased slightly, with job growth the main driver of improvement. Expectations, on the other hand, weakened somewhat in November, primarily due to a less optimistic view of future business conditions and personal income prospects," Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. "Despite a small decline in November, Consumer Confidence remains at historically strong levels."
Retail Sales Rebound
U.S. retail sales rebounded sharply in October as purchases of motor vehicles and building materials surged, likely driven by rebuilding efforts in areas devastated by Hurricane Florence. The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales increased 0.8 percent last month also as households bought electronics and appliances. Data for September was revised down to show retail sales slipping 0.1 percent instead of nudging up 0.1 percent as previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing 0.5 percent in October. Retail sales in October rose 4.6 percent from a year ago.
Jobless Claims Tic Up
The number of Americans filing applications for jobless aid unexpectedly rose last week, but claims for three big states were estimated because of Monday's Veterans Day holiday, which could have influenced the data. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the week ended Nov. 10, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was unrevised. Claims fell to 202,000 during the week ended Sept. 15, which was the lowest level since November 1969. Economists polled by Reuters had
forecast claims falling to 212,000 in the latest week. The Labor Department said claims for California, Virginia and Texas as well as those of Puerto Rico and Hawaii had been estimated. Claims data for North Carolina continued to be affected by Hurricane Florence, while Hurricane Michael impacted those for Florida and Georgia.
Courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty's in-house Lender Simon Atik, 310.880.8414, Simon.Atik@grarate.com, Vice President of Mortgage Lending, Guaranteed Rate Affinity.
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