Last week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, data on pending home sales, and the consumer sentiment index released by the University of Michigan. The Federal Reserve released a statement from its Federal Open Market Committee and Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave a press conference. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and expanded reports on jobless claims were also released.
Case-Shiller Home Price Readings Showed Slowing Home Price Gains in May
May readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed no decline in home prices, but the national pace of home price growth slowed to 4.50 percent from April’s national average of 4.60 percent.
The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index reported slower home price growth in May with only three of 19 cities reporting higher home price growth rates than in April. Data for the Detroit, Michigan metro area was not reported. The year-over-year rate of home price growth for May’s 20-City Home Price Index was 3.70 percent as compared to April’s reading of 3.90 percent.
Phoenix, Arizona led the 20-City HPI with 9.00 percent year-over-year home price growth in May; Seattle, Washington followed with 6.80 percent year-over-year home price growth and Tampa, Florida held third place with 6.00 percent year-over-year home price growth. Analysts credited record-low mortgage rates and slim inventories of available homes with keeping home prices afloat, but the spreading coronavirus pandemic may cause home prices to lose ground as would-be home buyers postpone home purchases due to weakening economic conditions.
In related news, the National Association of Realtors® reported that pending home sales increased by 16.60 percent as compared to April’s reading of 44.30 percent growth in pending home sales. April’s reading was the highest growth rate reported for pending home sales.
FOMC Meeting: Fed Says Ongoing Assistance Needed for Consumers
The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve left its key interest rate range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent unchanged and said it didn’t anticipate raising the rate in the next three years based on the coronavirus pandemic’s damage to the current economy and the Fed’s low to medium-term outlook. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that given current economic indicators, it is important for the government to provide ongoing aid to American consumers.
Freddie Mac reported record low mortgage rates as the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell two basis points to 2.99 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 2.51 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped by 15 basis points to 2.94 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.
Jobless Claims Fall, but Remain Far Above Pre-Pandemic Levels
New state jobless claims rose by 1000 claims to 1.43 million claims as ongoing state jobless claims rose to 17.29 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 16.20 million continuing jobless claims. National and state jobless claims rose by 2.04 million initial claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 2.31 million initial claims. Continuing State and National jobless claims fell to 30.2 million claims from the previous week’s reading of 31.80 million continuing jobless claims
The University of Michigan reported that consumer confidence fell in July to an index reading of 72.90 percent as compared to June’s reading of 73.20.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include labor-sector reports on public and private-sector jobs, the national unemployment rate, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new and ongoing jobless claims.