MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Existing home sales fall 4.6 percent in December and 7.1 percent year-on-year
Existing-home sales declined 4.6 percent in December and 7.1 percent year-on-year, snapping a streak of three straight months of gains. Each of the four major U.S. regions witnessed sales fall in December from both a month-over-month and a year-over-year basis. Despite the drop, overall sales for 2021 increased 8.5%. Unsold inventory sits at a 1.8-month supply at the present sales pace, down from 2.1 months in November and from 1.9 months in December 2020.
Initial unemployment claims rebound to highest level since October
In the week ending January 15, initial unemployment claims were 286,000, an increase of 55,000 from the previous week’s revised level. Continued claims during the week ending January 8 were 1,635,000, an increase of 84,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending January 1 was 2,128,752, an increase of 180,114 from the previous week.
New home mortgage purchase apps fall 5 percent in December and 7 percent year-on-year
Mortgage applications for new home purchases decreased 7.1 percent compared from a year ago. Compared to November 2021, applications decreased by 5 percent. The average loan size of new homes increased from $414,114 in November to $423,102 in December.
Purchase loan apps rise 8 percent from previous week but fall 13 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications increased 2.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 8 percent (but down 13 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 3 percent (and down 49 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.64 percent from 3.52 percent.