Key Economic Indicators – December 31, 2018

  • Due to lapse in Congressional Appropriations for fiscal year 2019, the U.S.  Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Census Bureau and other statistical offices were closed. There will be no statistical releases by those institutions until further notice.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, decreased 0.7% in November, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was down 7.7% from a year ago.
  • The S & P Corelogic Case-Shiller indices showed that the rate of home price increases across the U.S. slowed for the third month in a row. The National U.S. Home Price Index posted an annual increase of 5.5% for the 12 months ending in October. The 10-city composite index increased 4.7% from October 2017 to October 2018, while and 20-city composite index increased 5.0%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of December 27th showed average fixed mortgage rates continuing their downward trend to end the week and the year lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55% for the week ending December 27, down from last week when it averaged 4.62%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.99%.15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.01%, down from last week when it averaged 4.07%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.44%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 5.8% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 14th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 216 thousand in the week ending December 22, a decrease of a thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 218 thousand, a decrease of 4.75 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index decreased in December, following a modest decline in November. The Index now stands at 128.1 (1985=100), down from 136.4 in November. The Present Situation Index decreased slightly from 172.7 to 171.6, while the Expectations Index declined from 112.3 to 99.1.

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