Key Economic Indicators – January 26, 2015

  • Housing starts in December were up 4.4% from the previous month, and were up 5.3 from December 2013. Building permits were down 1.9% from the previous month, but were up 1.0% from December 2013. The total number of starts for the year 2014 was up 8.8% from the previous year, while building permits were up 4.2%
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo decreased a point to 57 in January. The index was 56 in January 2014, and 58 in December of 2014.
  • December existing home sales increased 2.4% to an annualized rate of 5,040 thousand units, according to the National Association of Realtors. There were 1,850 thousand homes for sale at the end of the month. This represents a supply of 4.4 months at the current sales rate, compared to 4.6 in December of 2013. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $209.5 thousand, 6.0% above December 2013.
  • U.S. House prices increased 0.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis from October to November, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index. For the 12 months ending in November, U.S. prices rose 5.3%. The index is 4.5% below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the October 2005 index level.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of January 22nd showed average fixed mortgage rates decreasing. 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.63%, down from last week when it averaged 3.66%. This was the lowest level since the week ending May 23, 2013.
  • Mortgage applications increased 14.2% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 16th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 10 thousand to 307 thousand in the week ending January 17.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased for the fourth consecutive month in December. The leading index increased 0.5% in December, while the coincident index increased 0.2%.

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