New home sales in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 467k. That is up 0.2% from August’s revised rate of 466k. The national rate of new home sales in September is up 17.0% from a year ago.
New home sales by region, seasonally adjusted, in September:
- Northeast: SAAR of 30k from 20k last month.
- Midwest: SAAR of 64k from 57k last month.
- South: SAAR of 261k from 256k last month.
- West: SAAR of 112k from 123k last month.
The median sales price of new houses sold in September was $259.0k, down from $286.8k in August.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 207k. This represents a supply of 5.3 months at the current sales rate.
The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index (CFNAI) was a reading of +0.47 in September, up from August’s revised reading of -0.25. The positive figure indicates that the index is above its historical trend. The index’s 3-month moving average is at +0.25.
58 of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in September, while 27 made negative contributions. 56 indicators improved from August to September, while 29 indicators deteriorated. Of the indicators that improved, 12 made negative contributions.
The Production and Income index component registered +0.30 from -0.20 last month. Employment and Hours was +0.22 from +0.04, Personal Consumption and Housing was -0.13 from -0.09, and Sales, Orders, and Inventories was +0.08 from -0.01.
The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data: 1) production and income; 2) employment, unemployment, and hours; 3) personal consumption and housing; and 4) sales, orders, and inventories. Each of these data series measures some aspect of overall macroeconomic activity.
It is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends toward trend growth rate over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below trend.
Initial jobless claims for the week ending October 18 were a seasonally adjusted 283k, up from the prior week’s revised reading of 266k. Not seasonally adjusted, jobless claims for the week were 255k.
Individual states that had changes in claims of more than 1k (not seasonally adjusted):
The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims was 281k. That’s the lowest since May 2000.
The number of unemployment insurance recipients, or continuing claims, for regular state programs was 2.351 million, down from the previous week’s revised reading of 2.389 million.
The insured unemployment rate, which is the number of unemployment insurance recipients as a share of covered employment, was 1.77%, down from 1.80% the week prior.
90.54% of all U.S. jobs are covered by state unemployment insurance programs.
Of the 9.262 million Americans currently unemployed, 25.38% receive unemployment insurance.
Jobless claims and the unemployment rate:
Total miles traveled on all roads and streets were an estimated 267.8 billion miles in August, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports. This is a 0.4% increase from the 266.7 billion miles traveled in August of 2013.
The rolling 12 month total of vehicle miles driven is 2.977 trillion miles. That is 2.1% below the high of 3.039 trillion miles in November of 2007.
The map from the release shows that, year over year, travel increased in 3 out of 5 U.S. regions in August.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1% in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.7%.
The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, also increased 0.1% in September and is also up 1.7% year over year.
The All Food index increased 0.3% in and is up 3.0% from a year ago. The All Energy index decreased 0.7% and is down 0.6% from a year ago.
Energy Commodities in particular were down 1.1% in September and 3.3% from a year ago.
The Producer Price Index for final demand decreased 0.1% in September, seasonally adjusted. The index for final demand increased 1.6% for the 12 months ended in September.
The core PPI, which excludes food and energy, was unchanged in September and is also up 1.6% from a year ago.
In September, the unemployment rate decreased in 31 U.S. states, increased in 8 states, and was unchanged in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
The unemployment rate is higher than a year ago in 5 states: Iowa (4.6% vs 4.5%), Wyoming (4.7% vs 4.6%), Alabama (6.6% vs 6.4%), West Virginia (6.6% vs 6.4%), and Alaska (6.8% vs 6.6%).
Recall that the national jobless rate in September was 5.9%.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million. This annual rate is 1.7% lower than the 5.26 million-unit level in September 2013.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the improved demand for buying seen since the spring has carried into the fall. “Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September’s healthy increase, even with investor activity remaining on par with last month’s marked decline,” he said. “Traditional buyers are entering a less competitive market with fewer investors searching for available homes, but may also face a slight decline in choices due to the fact that inventory generally falls heading into the winter.”
“Economic instability overseas is leading to volatility in the stock market and is causing investors to seek safer bets, which will likely keep interest rates in upcoming weeks hovering near or below where they are now,” said Yun. “This is welcoming news for consumers looking to buy, although they could temporarily become more cautious by less certain economic conditions.”
The existing home sales rate in 3 of the 4 U.S. regions in September:
- Northeast: 0.68 million from 0.67 million month prior.
- Midwest: 1.17 million from 1.24 million month prior.
- South: 2.12 million from 2.02 million month prior.
- West: 1.20 million from 1.12 million month prior.
Total housing inventory at the end of September decreased 1.3% to 2.30 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 5.3 month supply at the current sales pace. Unsold inventory is 6.0% above a year ago, when there were 2.17 million existing homes available for sale.
The median time on market for all homes was 56 days in September. That is up from 53 days in August. Short sales were on the market for a median of 116 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 53 days, and non-distressed homes took 59 days. 35% of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.
The national median existing home price for all housing types was $209,700, up 5.6% from a year ago.