June 25, 2012
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo monthly housing market index rose one point in June to 29 from a revised reading of 28 in May. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.
The index of leading economic indicators — designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months — rose 0.3% in May, following a flat reading in April.
The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in April fell 4.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 708,000 units. Single-family starts increased 3.2%. Volatile multifamily starts fell 21.3%. Compared to a year ago, housing starts are up 28.5%. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, rose 7.9% to an annual rate of 780,000 units.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending June 15 fell 0.8%. Refinancing applications increased 1%. Purchase volume fell 9%.
Existing home sales fell 1.5% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million units from 4.62 million units in April. The inventory of unsold homes on the market decreased 0.4% to 2.49 million in May, a 6.6-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 6.5-month supply in April.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending June 16 fell by 2,000 to 387,000 from an upwardly revised 389,000 the prior week. Continuing claims for the week ending June 9 were unchanged at 3.299 million.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on new home sales on June 25, the housing price index on June 26 and pending home sales on June 27.