Last week’s economic news included readings on pending home sales, new home sales, and readings on monthly and yearly inflation rates. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published along with the University of Michigan’s final monthly and year-over-year readings on consumer sentiment.
Commerce Department Reports Fewer New Homes Sold in July
Sales of new homes fell by 12.60 percent month-to-month and were 29.6 percent lower year-over-year in July. The Commerce Department reported a year-over-year sales pace of 511,000 new homes sold in July as compared with June’s revised pace of 585,000 new homes sold. June’s reading was revised from its original year-over-year pace of 590,000 new home sales and was the lowest pace of home sales reported since January 2016.
Fears of rapidly rising inflation and mortgage rates impacted would-be homebuyers as construction costs and labor shortages contributed to rising home prices. Pending home sales decreased by one percent in July as compared to June’s reading of -8.9 percent fewer pending sales reported in June.
Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported higher average rates for fixed-rate mortgages as the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell. Rates for 30-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 5.53 percent and 42 basis points higher. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.85 percent and were 0.30 basis points higher. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 4.36 percent; discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims fell to 243,000 first-time claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 245,000 initial claims filed.
Inflation readings for July showed the first decrease since April 2020 as the month-to-month reading decreased by 0.10 percent as compared to June’s month-to-month reading of a one-percent increase in inflation. The core personal consumption rate, which does not include food or fuel costs, rose by 0.10 percent as compared to the expected reading of 0.20 percent and June’s reading of 0.60 percent inflation.
Inflation rose by 6.30 percent year-over-year in July as compared to June’s year-over-year reading of 6.80 percent. Core inflation rose by 4.60 percent year-over-year in July as compared to June’s reading of 4.80 percent. Decreasing inflationary growth suggests that relief may be on the way for consumers.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on home prices, construction spending, public and private-sector job growth, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.