Talking about increased consumer confidence, new home sales decreasing, home prices, mortgage rates and more…
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.% in December, following a 0.1% increase in November, and a 0.2% increase in October.
This increase suggests the economy will continue growing at a moderate pace, perhaps even accelerating slightly in the early months of this year. December’s large gain was mainly driven by improving sentiment about the outlook and suggests the business cycle still showed strong momentum in the final months of 2016.
Awesome news! You may remember I posted the other day about Gallup also reporting increasing consumer confidence. There is not (to my knowledge) a direct correlation between consumer confidence and home sales or prices.
However, it is hard to imagine people buying homes if they are feeling anxious about the economy.
Sales of new single-family houses in December 2016 were 10.4% below the revised November rate and 0.4% below the December 2015 estimate.
The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2016 was $322,500; the average sales price was $384,000. There were an estimated 259,000 new houses for sale at the end of December 2016. This represents a supply of 5.8 months at the current sales rate.
An estimated 563,000 new homes were sold in 2016. This is 12.2% above the 2015 level.
Not good at all! Check out the chart showing new residential sales all the way back to the 1960’s to see where we REALLY stand:
U.S. house prices rose in November, up 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI). From November 2015 to November 2016, house prices were up 6.1%.
While not as up to date as the local real estate market data I share on this website, it is still great news for the U.S. housing market.
Check out the chart:
Mortgage applications increased 4.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 20, 2017. This week’s results included an adjustment for the MLK Day holiday.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,000 or less) increased to 4.35% from 4.27%, with points decreasing to 0.30 from 0.39 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,000) increased to 4.28% from 4.22%, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.57% from 3.51%, with points decreasing to 0.28 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
I will point out that despite mortgage rates increasing, the fact remains they are still low IF you look back in time.
Total U.S. Weekly Rail Traffic Up
For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 530,299 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.1 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total carloads for the week ending January 21 were 262,496 carloads, up 10.7 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 267,803 containers and trailers, up 5.8 percent compared to 2016.
Boom! There has been plenty of positive economic news lately!
Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) increased to +0.14 in December from –0.33 in November. Three of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from November, and two of the four categories made positive contributions to the index in December.
The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, edged up to –0.07 in December from –0.14 in November. December’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was slightly below its historical trend. The economic growth reflected in this level of the CFNAI-MA3 suggests subdued inflationary pressure from economic activity over the coming year.
- 30 year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.19%
- This is up from last week when it averaged 4.09%
- A year ago at this time, 30 year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.79%
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages this week averaged 3.40%
- This is up from last week when it averaged 3.34%
- A year ago at this time, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.07%
Check out the chart:
Results of the monthly Carolinas Survey of Business Activity show that a greater share of responding firms said that current business activity increased in January, and a greater share was also more optimistic about the near term economic outlook than had been the case in December. The current general business conditions index built on its solid December result, as did the current sales metric. At the same time, the expected general business conditions index increased for the third month in a row, reaching its highest point in nearly six years while the expected sales measure reached its highest point in almost seven years.
More positive news! Check out the charts:
That’s it for today! I hope you will subscribe to new posts!