What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 26, 2016

Last week’s economic news was abundant with releases on home builder sentiment, housing starts, building permits, sales of previously owned homes. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve released its customary statement at the conclusion of its meeting; Fed Chair Janet Yellen also gave a press conference. Weekly readings on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were released as usual.

NAHB: Builder Sentiment Increases in September

Home builder confidence in housing market conditions increased in September according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. Builder confidence rose five points to 65; analysts expected a reading of 60 based on August’s reading of 59. NAHB said that September’s reading was boosted by more “serious” buyers entering housing markets.

Components used to determine NAHB HMI readings were also higher. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose six points to 71; builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months rose by five points to 71. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments rose four points to 48. Buyer traffic readings have not reached 50 since 2005; 50 is a neutral benchmark for NAHB HMI readings.

Home prices continue rising at a higher pace than wages; this is pressuring first-time and moderate income buyers out of the market. An ongoing shortage of available homes is pressing prices higher as demand increases. Analysts pay close attention to the NAHB HMI as building more new homes is a key factor in easing the shortage of homes for sale.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Lower

Commerce Department readings on housing starts and permits issued were lower for August Housing starts were lower in August at 1.142 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual pace. Analysts expected 1.182 million housing starts based on July’s reading of 1.212 million starts. Regional readings showed a dip in starts in the South. Severe flooding in Louisiana contributed to the lower reading for housing starts. August’s reading for housing starts was 5.80 percent lower than July’s reading and 0.90 percent lower than for July 2015.

Building permits issued were nearly flat in August; this was likely due to the prime building season winding down 1.139 million permits were issued as compared to 1.144 million permits issued in July. Single-family starts were six percent lower than for July and were 1.20 percent lower year-over-year.

Existing Home Sales Dip: High Demand, Low Supply Cited

Sales of pre-owned homes fell by 0.90 percent in August to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million sales. Analysts expected a reading of 5.48 million sales; July’s reading for sales of pre-owned homes was 5.38 million sales.

Low inventory of available homes continues to impact housing markets as demand for homes increased and prices rose; the national average home price was $240,000 in August. Rising home prices continued to be driven by high demand and low supplies. These conditions also impacted first-time and moderate income home buyers who were pressured to keep up with rapidly rising home prices.

While mortgage rates remain relatively low, higher home prices and tight mortgage credit requirements remain obstacles for first-time buyers.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 3.48 percent; the average rate for a15-year fixed rate mortgage fell on one basis point to 2.76 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was lower by two basis points at 2.80 percent.

Analysts expected new jobless claims to remain flat at the prior week’s reading of 260,000 new claims, but 252,000 new claims were filed for the lowest reading since July. The four-week rolling average of new jobless claims fell by 22250 claims to 258,500. The four-week reading is considered a less volatile reading than week-to-week readings.

Federal Reserve: No Increase in Fed Rate

The Federal Open Market Committee said in its post-meeting statement that the target federal funds rate would not be raised. In a press conference given after the FOMC statement, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that although the economy continued to improve, the Fed had concerns over the labor market and decided not to raise rates. Any increase in Federal Reserve rates triggers increases in consumer lending rates.

What’s Ahead

This week’s readings include Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, readings on new and pending home sales and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 19, 2016

Last week’s economic news included reports on retail sales, inflation, and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Retail Sales Slip as Consumer Prices Inch Up

Retail sales dipped into negative territory in August with a reading of -0.30 percent as compared to expectations of -0.10 percent and July’s reading of +0.10 percent. Retail sales excluding auto sales were better at +0.30 percent. Analysts expected a reading of +0.20 percent based on July’s reading of -0.40 percent. August’s negative reading for retail sales was the first negative report since March.

Inflation fared better than retail sales with August’s Consumer Price Index reading at 0.20 percent. Analysts expected a reading of 0.10 percent; July’s reading was flat. Core Consumer Price Index readings for August are less volatile, as the Core CPI does not include readings for food and energy costs. August’s Core CPI reading was 0.30 percent. A reading of 0.20 percent was expected; July’s reading was 0.10 percent. It appears that inflation is creeping upward, but remains well below the Fed’s target reading of 2.0 percent.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates across the board last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose six basis points to 3.50 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose one basis point to 2.76 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose one basis point to an average of 2.82 percent. Average discount points were 0.50 for 30 and 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Low mortgage rates have helped home buyers, especially first-time and moderate income buyers, meet affordability challenges. Home prices have risen due to low numbers of available homes and high demand for homes. If mortgage rates continue to rise, fewer buyers will be able to qualify for mortgages and or afford asking prices for available homes.

Next week’s meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee is expected to bring news of a Fed decision on raising the target federal funds rate. If the Fed raises its rate, consumer interest rates for mortgages, vehicles and other goods can be expected to increase as well.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news includes the NAHB Housing Market Index, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued and a Fed Statement at the conclusion of its Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is also slated to give a press conference after the FOMC statement. The National Association of Realtors will also release a report on sales of previously owned homes.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 12, 2016

Few economic reports were released last week due to the Labor Day Holiday. The Federal Reserve released its Beige Book Report, which documents anecdotes shared with the Fed by its regional business contacts. A job openings report, weekly jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s survey of mortgage rates was also released.

Fed’s Beige Book: Approaching Election Dampens Business Growth

According to the Federal Reserve’s survey of business contacts within its 12 districts, November’s election is causing business owners to take a “wait and see” position regarding expansion plans. Commercial real estate contacts in several Fed districts cited modest projections for sales and construction for the second half of 2016. The Bank of Canada supported Fed contacts’ view of modest growth; it characterized U.S. business growth as “less certain.”

Analysts review the Beige Book report for indications of how the Fed may adjust its monetary policy including whether or not to raise the target federal funds rate. The Beige Book report did not reveal any compelling evidence for the Fed to raise rates before year-end, but Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a recent statement that economic conditions were strengthening and favored a rate hike before year-end.

November’s election will likely delay any rate hike until December. Fed policymakers have repeatedly said that a combination of economic trends, current readings and news reports contribute to decisions relating to interest rates and other monetary policy issues.

Job Openings Rise, New Jobless Claims Drop

July job openings rose from June’s reading of 5.60 million openings to 5.90 million openings to hit an all-time high.  New jobless claims fell from 263,000 new claims to 259,000 new claims. The Labor Department also reported that hires increased from 5.17 million to 5.23 million in June. These readings are further indications of strengthening job markets and general economic growth.

Mortgage Rates Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week; the average rate for a 30-year mortgage was two basis points lower at 3.44 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 2.76 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was two basis points lower at 2.81 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60, 0.50 and 0.40 percent respectively.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on retail sales, national inflation and consumer sentiment.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 6, 2016

Last week’s economic reports included readings on pending home sales, construction spending and consumer sentiment. Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for June were released, along with several labor-related reports including national unemployment, ADP Payrolls and Non-Farm Payrolls were also released along with weekly readings on new jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s survey of average mortgage rates.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Holds Steady in June

According to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for June, average national home prices held steady with a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 5.10 percent in June. The top three cities for home price growth were Portland, Oregon with a reading of 12.60 percent; Seattle, Washington followed with a reading of 11.00 percent. Denver, Colorado home prices grew by 9.20 percent year-over-year.

San Francisco, California, which had posted highest year-over-year price gains in recent months slipped with a reading of 6.40 percent year-over-year in June. This could signify a cooling of rapid price gains in high demand metro areas where home prices have become unaffordable for many buyers.

Construction Spending Flat in July, Pending Home Sales Increase

While builder sentiment has been strong, construction spending was flat in July as compared to an expected reading of 0.60 percent and June’s reading of an 0.90 percent increase in construction spending. The Commerce Department reported that pending home sales increased 1.30 percent in July, which exceeded expectations of 0.90 percent growth and June’s negative reading of -0.80 percent. July’s reading appeared to even out June’s unexpected slump in pending sales, which are considered an indicator for future closings and home loan volume.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates rose for all three loan types reported by Freddie Mac. The rate for a 30-year mortgage rate rose three basis points to 3.46 percent; the average rate for a 15-year mortgage also rose three basis points to 2.77 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage jumped by eight basis points to 2.83 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent, 0.50 percent and 0.40 percent respectively. Mortgage rates rose after the yield on 10-year Treasury Notes increased in response to a speech given by Fed Chair Janet Yellen that indicated that the target federal funds rate could be raised in December.

263,000 new jobless claims were filed as compared to expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 261,000 new claims. Job growth slowed in August; the Commerce Department reported a reading of 151,000 new jobs in its Non-Farm Payrolls report. Analysts expected 170,000 new jobs, which fell significantly short of July’s reading of 275,000 jobs created. Non-Farm Payrolls includes data for public and private sector jobs.

Labor Reports: Job Growth Slows, National Unemployment Holds Steady

ADP Payrolls also reported fewer private sector jobs created in August with a reading of 177,000 new jobs as compared to 194,000 private sector jobs created in July. Analysts characterized August jobs reports as “fickle” due to high numbers of summer vacations and company-wide summer holiday closures.

August’s reading for national unemployment held steady at 4.90 percent.

While slower growth in home prices and job creation could signal an economic slowdown, there was good news as consumer confidence rose to 101.7 in August; this reading surpassed the expected reading of 97.0 and July’s reading of 96.7.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news is lean due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday. In addition to weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates, reports on job openings and the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report will be released.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 29, 2016

Last week’s economic reports included readings on new and existing home sales, a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, and a report on consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

New Home Sales Rise in July as Pre-Owned Home Sales Fall

Sales of new homes jumped in July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 654,000 sales, which surpassed expectations of 579,000 sales and June’s downwardly-revised reading of 582,000 sales. This was the highest reading for new home sales since 2008 and represented a 31.30 percent increase since July 2015.

Builders were seen by analysts as addressing the need for more affordable homes; this trend contributes to a healthy housing market by supplying homes for a wider range of buyers. First-time buyers play a vital part in housing markets as their purchases enable current homeowners to buy larger homes or relocate.

Sales of pre-owned homes fell 3.20 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million sales as compared to expectations of 5.59 million sales and June’s reading of 5.57 million sales. Year-over-year, sales were 1.60 percent lower. Limited inventories of available pre-owned homes have narrowed buyer options; increasing prices and narrow choices were seen as factors contributing to lower sales. There was a 4.60 month supply of available homes in July. Real estate pros typically consider a six months a normal reading for homes on the market.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, noted that a slowdown in home appraisals may have contributed to July’s lower sales reading for pre-owned homes. Low mortgage rates prompted a surge in refinancing which created a backlog in home appraisals. While low mortgage rates may entice home buyers, stricter mortgage requirements can also keep prospective buyers at bay.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the stage could be set for a federal rate increase as early as next month. If the Fed hikes its target federal funds rate, interest rates for consumer credit and mortgages can be expected to rise.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady; New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported that fixed mortgage rates for 30 and 15-year loans were unchanged at 3.43 and 2.74 percent respectively. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 2.75 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60, 0.50 and 0.40 percent.

New jobless claims were lower last week. 261,000 new jobless claims were filed against expectations of 264,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 262,000 new claims filed. Declining jobless claims can indicate strengthening labor markets, but can also indicate that workers are leaving the labor markets.

Consumer sentiment declined slightly in August due to concerns over the upcoming presidential election. Analysts expected a reading of 91.0 for August, but the reading for August was revised from 90.4 to 89.80.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic news includes reports on pending home sales, inflation, construction spending and consumer confidence. National unemployment, non-farm payrolls and ADP payrolls are also scheduled.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 15, 2016

Last week’s economic news included reports on job openings, retail sales and recurring reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. Job openings and hiring increased, which provided further evidence of stronger economic conditions. Retail sales were flat in July, new unemployment claims dropped and mortgage rates changed little.

Labor Reports Suggest Stronger Economic Trends

The Labor Department reported more job openings in June with 5.60 openings as compared to 5.50 million job openings in May. According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, 5.13 million workers were hired in June as compared to May’s reading of 5.15 million hires. June’ JOLTS report also showed that voluntary quits were nearly double the rate of quits during the worst part of the recession. Analysts consider quits an indicator of worker confidence in job markets; in times when jobs aren’t easily found, workers are more likely to stay with current jobs rather than risking uncertainties associated with quitting.

New jobless claims were lower with 266,000 new claims filed against the prior week’s reading of 267,000 new claims filed and expectations of 265,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading continued a long streak of new jobless claims under 300,000 per week. Labor market trends impact housing markets, as prospective homebuyers typically consider job security as a significant factor in decisions to buy homes.

Mortgage Rates Show Little Change

Freddie Mac said that average mortgage rates held near steady readings last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by two points to 3.45 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was also two basis points higher at 2.76 percent and rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 2.74 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three loan types reported. Consistently low mortgage rates help to ease concerns caused by rapidly rising home prices caused by short supplies of available homes.

Consumer sentiment fell short of the expected index reading of 91.50 with a reading of 90.40 but surpassed July’s index reading of 90.00. Participants in the University of Michigan Survey cited concerns over increasing prices coupled with slow income growth. Analysts said that consumer participants had grown acclimated to low mortgage rates, which may have offset consumer concerns about stagnant wages and higher prices.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department Consumer Price Index and Core CPI reports along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 8, 2016

Last week’s economic reports included construction spending, personal income, and multiple reports on employment. Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates survey and new jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Dips in June

According to the Commerce Department, construction spending fell in June to -0.60 percent as compared to expectations of an increase of 0.50 percent and May’s reading of -0.10 percent. Spending was even across public and private construction spending. The Commerce Department said that construction spending on June rose to $1.13 trillion was 0.30 percent year-over-year and was 6.20 percent higher for the first six months of 2016 as compared to the same period in 2015; construction spending appears to be trending upward in spite of recent month-to-month declines.

Consumer spending rates in June met expected growth of 0.40 percent and matched May’s reading. Core consumer spending fell to 0.10 percent in June according to expectations, which were based on May’s reading of 0.20 percent.

Labor Reports Indicate Stronger Economy

Inflation remains lower than the Federal Reserve’s annual rate of 2.00 percent, but labor news released last week supports reports of strengthening economic conditions. ADP Payrolls, which covers private-sector job growth, reported 179,000 jobs added in July as compared to June’s reading of 176,000 jobs added.

Non-farm payrolls grew by 255,000 jobs as compared to expected growth of 185,000 jobs. Neither July’s reading nor did expectations of 185,000 jobs added meet June’s reading of 292,000 jobs added, but analysts and media reports touted private and public sector job growth as a strong indicator of economic recovery.

The national unemployment rate held steady at 4.90 percent against expectations of 4.80 percent and June’s reading of 4.90 percent. Analysts said that this reading was better than it appeared due to more people joining the work force in July.

Mortgage Rates Lower:Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates fell across the board last week according to Freddie Mac. 30-year fixed rates averaged 3.43 percent, which was five basis points lower than the previous week. Average rates for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell by four basis points to an average of 2.74 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage fell five basis points to 2.73 percent.

New jobless claims rose to 269,000 against expectations of 263,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 266,000 new claims. There’s good news; new jobless claims remained below the key reading of 300,000 for the 74th consecutive week.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes releases on retail sales and consumer sentiment along with weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 1, 2016

WhatsAhead072916Last week’s economic reports included S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Indices, reports on new and pending home sales, Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rates survey. The Federal Reserve released its customary statement after the scheduled Federal Open Market Committee meeting concluded; the Committee did not raise the federal funds rate of 0.25 percent, but indicated that economic risks were fewer, which suggested that the key Fed rate may be increased in September.

According to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for May, home price growth dipped from 5.40 percent in April to 5.20 percent in June as calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Portland, Oregon led the 20-City Index with 12.50 percent growth in home prices annually. Seattle, Washington and Denver, Colorado rounded out the top three with readings of 10.70 and 9.50 percent annual growth respectively. Eight cities posted faster growth rates in May than for April. Analysts again cited short supplies of available homes and high demand for homes as reasons for rising home prices.

New and Pending Home Sales Increase

Sales of new homes reached a seven-year high and rose to 592,000 in June as compared to expectations of 562,000 new homes sold and May’s reading of 572,000 new homes sold. Analysts have consistently said that building more homes is the only way to solve the shortage of available homes. Rising sales of new homes are a step in the right direction, but builders cited labor shortages and lack of buildable land as hindering their ability to meet demand for homes.

Pending home sales also rose in June with an increase of 0.20 percent.Analysts expected new home sales to rise by 1.30 percent based on May’s negative reading of -3.70 percent. Pending home sales data assists with estimating future closings and demand for mortgage loans.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates for fixed rate mortgages; 5/1 adjustable rates held steady. The average rate for 30-year adjustable rate mortgages was three basis points higher at 3.48 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was also three basis points higher at 2.78 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.78 percent. Average discount points held steady at 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic releases include reports on personal income, inflation, and core inflation. Several reports on employment will be released including ADP payrolls, Non-farm payrolls, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims are also expected.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 25, 2016

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Rise

Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued were released Tuesday. Housing starts rose to 1.189 million in June against expectations of 1.165 million starts and May’s downwardly revised reading of 1.135 million starts, Housing starts rose by 4.80 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. This is good news for housing markets, but analysts said that demand for homes continued to exceed available supplies.

Building permits issued also rose in June to 1.53 million as compared to May’s reading of 1.136 million permits issued.

Existing Home Sales Increase: National Association of Realtors®

Sales of previously-owned homes rose three percent year-over-year and reached their highest level since February 2007 in June. Existing home sales rose by 1.10 percent in June to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million sales. Analysts forecasted a reading of 5.48 million sales of pre-owned homes based on May’s reading of 5.51 million sales.

Analysts said that first-time home buyers are returning to housing markets and helped boost June sales and cited changing buyer demographics that suggest a return to owner-occupant home sales. First-time buyers accounted for 33 percent of pre-owned home sales in July, which was their highest reading since 2012. First-time buyers are important to housing markets as their purchases of existing homes enable current homeowners to sell their homes to buy larger homes or to relocate.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates rose across the board last week according to Freddie Mac’s weekly report. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.45 percent, which was three basis points higher. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage also rose three basis points to 2.75 percent; rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 2.78 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed-rate mortgage and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims sustained their streak and fell last week to 253,000 against predictions of 260,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 254,000 new claims filed. Analysts hailed declining jobless claims as a strong indicator that the economy and labor markets continue to improve. New jobless claims have remained below the key reading of 300,000 for 73 weeks. The four-week rolling average of new jobless claims fell by 1250 claims to 257,750. This reading is considered less volatile than week-to-week readings and offers evidence of steady improvements in labor markets.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic news includes the S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Index, readings on new and pending home sales and the FOMC committee’s post-meeting statement on Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions. Analysts widely expect the Fed to hold firm on its current federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent.

Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released along with a reading on consumer confidence.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 18, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week January 04 2016Last week’s economic news included reports on inflation, retail sales and weekly readings on mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims.

Mortgage rates were mixed with average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rising by one basis point to 3.42 percent. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage dropped by two basis points to 2.72 percent, and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose six basis points to 2.76 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15 year fixed rate mortgages. Freddie Mac said that recent patterns in mortgage rates suggested that rates are likely to remain low throughout the summer; last year the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.09 percent.

Inflation Grows at Steady Rate

Inflation grew by 0.20 percent in June according to the Consumer Price Index issued by the government. Rent, gas and pharmaceuticals drove the increase, while grocery prices declined. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, also grew by 0.200 percent; this reflects lower grocery prices and relatively low fuel costs.

Increasing rents could propel more renters into the home buying market, but high home prices and short supplies of available homes continue to limit home buyer choices. Inflation remains below the Federal Reserve’s target of 2.00 percent annually; this indicates that the Fed isn’t likely to raise its target federal fund rates in the near future.

Home and Garden Sales Drive June Retail Sales

Homeowners were busy with home improvements and yard work in June; this boosted retail sales to 0.50 percent against an expected reading of 0.10 percent and May’s reading of 0.20 percent. June retail sales excluding automotive sales rose from May’s reading of 0.40 percent to 0.70 percent; analysts had expected retail sales exclusive of autos to grow by 0.50 percent in June.

New Jobless Claims Hold Steady, Consumer Sentiment Dips

Weekly jobless claims were unchanged at 254,000 new claims filed; analysts had expected new claims to increase to 265,000 new claims. A wave of new claims created by end-of-school-year layoffs caused new claims to jump in recent weeks, but analysts said that layoffs remain low. New jobless claims remained well below the benchmark of 300,000 for the 71st consecutive week. This extended the longest time that new jobless claims were below 300,000 since 1973.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes the NAHB Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, Housing Starts and Building Permits. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.