Key Economic Indicators – May 25, 2015

  • Housing starts were up 20.2% in April from the previous month, and were up 9.2% from a year ago. Building permits were up 10.1% in April from the previous month, and were up 6.4% from April 2014.
  • April existing home sales decreased 3.3% to an annualized rate of 5,040 thousand units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were up 6.1% from a year ago. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $219.4 thousand, 8.9% above April 2014.
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo decreased 2 points to 54 in May. The index was 45 a year ago, and 57 in January 2015.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving slightly lower, following three consecutive weeks of increases. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.84% for the week ending May 21, down from last week when it averaged 3.85%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.14%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 1.5% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending May 15th.
  • The consumer price index (headline index) increased 0.1% in April, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The core index increased 0.3%, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The consumer price index (headline index) decreased 0.2% for the 12-month period ending in April, while the core index rose 1.8%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 10 thousand to 274 thousand in the week ending May 16. The 4-week moving average was 266.25 thousand, a decrease of 5.5 thousand from the previous week.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees were unchanged from March to April. This result stems from a 0.1% increase in average hourly earnings being offset by a 0.1% increase in the consumer price index.
  • The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey for May reported that manufacturing activity in the region increased modestly.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.7% in April, following a 0.4% increase in March, and a 0.2% decrease in February. The Conference Board’s coincident economic index increased 0.2% in April, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month.

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