MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
New home sales slip 0.3 percent in October, but up 41.5 percent year-on-year
Sales of new single-family houses in October 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000, 0.3 percent below the revised September rate of 1,002,000, but is 41.5 percent above the October 2019 estimate of 706,000. The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of October was 278,000. This represents a
supply of 3.3 months at the current sales rate.
Purchase loans up 4 percent from previous week and 19 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications increased 3.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans up 4 percent (and up 19 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity up 5 percent (and up 79 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to a survey low of 2.92 percent from 2.99 percent.
Initial unemployment claims rebound 4.0 percent to 778,000, but continued claims fall 4.7 percent
In the week ending November 21, initial unemployment claims were 778,000, an increase of 30,000, or 4.0 percent, from the previous week’s revised level. Continued claims during the week ending November 14 were 6,071,000, a decrease of 299,000, or 4.7 percent, from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending November 7 was 20,452,223, an increase of 135,297, or 0.7 percent, from the previous week.
November consumer sentiment slips 6.0 percent from October as virus cases rebound
Consumer sentiment was unchanged in late November–a difference of just 0.1 points from mid-month to 76.9 –although there was a significant decline in the Expectations component which was offset by more favorable assessments of current economic conditions. In the months ahead, if infections and deaths rise as anticipated, further declines in optimism are likely. Widespread closures would incur a heavy toll on the entire economy and cause escalating hardships among some households. A delay in federal aid until next year would allow great harm and permanent damage to occur to many firms, local governments, and households.
October durable goods rise again by 1.3 percent, but rate of growth slowing
New orders for manufactured durable goods in October increased 1.3 percent to $240.8
billion. This increase, up six consecutive months, followed a 2.1 percent September increase. However, nondefense new orders for capital goods in October decreased 0.2 percent to $70.5 billion.