Real gross domestic product increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter, the U.S. BEA published this morning. This was the second estimate for Q4, and is a decrease from the initial estimate of a 2.6% annualized growth rate. The GDP growth rate in Q3 was 5.0% annualized.
Components of GDP by their contributions to GDP growth in Q4:
- Personal consumption expenditures: +2.83%
- Private investment: +0.84%
- Net Exports: -1.15%
- Government Consumption: -0.32%
Nominal GDP was at an annualized $17.7013 trillion in Q4, while real (inflation adjusted, 2009 chained) GDP was $16.2937 trillion.
Real GDP was up 2.4% from Q4 2013.
S&P Case-Shiller Home Prices increased in December, with the 20-city composite index rising by 0.1% (not seasonally adjusted). Year over year, the 20-City Composite is up 4.5%.
The national house price level is now roughly equal to where it stood in November 2004.
Of the 20 cities tracked in the index, Los Angeles has had the greatest increase in home prices since 2000, while Detroit has been the only city where prices have declined over the past 15 years.
From a year ago, house prices have increased the most in San Francisco, where they rose 9.3%. Chicago has had the slowest rate of annual increase, rising only 1.3%.
Dallas and Denver are the only cities whose prices have increased beyond their pre-recession peak. Las Vegas remains the furthest below its peak.
The U.S.Federal Housing Finance Agency saw its national house prices increase 0.8% in December (not seasonally adjusted), and increasing 5.4% from a year ago.
The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages either sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The U.S. index is 3.7% below its March 2007 peak and is roughly the same as its November 2005 index level.
Of the 9 different geographic census divisions that FHFA tracks, house prices have increased the most year over year in the Pacific and increased the least in the Middle Atlantic region.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.7% in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index has decreased 0.2%.
The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was up 0.2% in January and is up 1.6% year over year.
The All Food index was flat in January and is up 3.2% from a year ago. The All Energy index decreased 9.7% and is down 20.0% from a year ago.
The Producer Price Index for final demand decreased 0.8% in January, seasonally adjusted. The index for final demand decreased 0.1% for the 12 months ended in January.
The core PPI, which excludes food and energy, decreased 0.1% and is up 1.7% from a year ago.
U.S. initial jobless claims for the week ending February 21 were a seasonally adjusted 313k, up from the prior week’s revised reading of 282k. Not seasonally adjusted, jobless claims for the week were 280k.
Individual states that had changes in claims of more than 1k (not seasonally adjusted):
The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims was 295k.
The number of unemployment insurance recipients, or continuing claims, for regular state programs was 2.401 million, down from the previous week’s revised reading of 2.422 million.
The insured unemployment rate, which is the number of unemployment insurance recipients as a share of covered employment, was 1.80%, down from 1.82% the week prior.
90.01% of all U.S. jobs are covered by state unemployment insurance programs.
Of the 9.111 million Americans currently unemployed, 26.35% receive unemployment insurance.
Jobless claims and the unemployment rate:
U.S. new home sales in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481k. That is down 0.2% from December’s revised rate of 482k. The national rate of new home sales in January was up 5.3% from a year ago.
New home sales by region, seasonally adjusted annual rate, in January:
- Northeast: 15k from 31k last month.
- Midwest: 62k from 52k last month.
- South: 278k from 272k last month.
- West: 126k from 127k last month.
The median sales price of new houses sold in January was $294.3k, down from $302.1k in December.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 218k. This represents a supply of 5.4 months at the current sales rate.
New and existing home sales:
U.S. consumer confidence decreased to a reading of 96.4 (1985=100) in February, as published this morning by The Conference Board. This compares to a revised reading of 103.8 in January.
The Present Situation Index component decreased to 110.2 from 113.9, while the Expectations Index component decreased to 87.2 from 97.0.
According to Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “After a large gain in January, consumer confidence retreated in February, but still remains at pre-recession levels (September 2007, Index, 99.5). Consumers’ assessment of current conditions remained positive, but short-term expectations declined. While the number of consumers expecting conditions to deteriorate was virtually unchanged, fewer consumers expect conditions to improve, prompting a less upbeat outlook. Despite this month’s decline, consumers remain confident that the economy will continue to expand at the current pace in the months ahead.”
The U.S. consumer sentiment index, reported by the University of Michigan, decreased to 93.6 in February from 98.1 in January.
The recent trend:
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 4.9% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million. This annual rate is 3.2% higher than the 4.67 million-unit level in January 2014.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market got off to a somewhat disappointing start to begin the year with January closings down throughout the country. “January housing data can be volatile because of seasonal influences, but low housing supply and the ongoing rise in home prices above the pace of inflation appeared to slow sales despite interest rates remaining near historic lows,” he said. “Realtors® are reporting that low rates are attracting potential buyers, but the lack of new and affordable listings is leading some to delay decisions.”
“Although sales cooled in January, home prices continued solid year-over-year growth,” adds Yun. “The labor market and economy are markedly improved compared to a year ago, which supports stronger buyer demand. The big test for housing will be the impact on affordability once rates rise.”
The existing home sales rate decreased in all 4 U.S. regions in January:
- Northeast: 0.63 million from 0.67 million month prior.
- Midwest: 1.08 million from 1.11 million month prior.
- South: 2.07 million from 2.17 million month prior.
- West: 1.04 million from 1.12 million month prior.
Total housing inventory at the end of January increased 0.5% to 1.87 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 4.7 month supply at the current sales pace. Unsold inventory is up 0.5% from a year ago, when there were 1.88 million existing homes available for sale.
The median time on market for all homes was 69 days in January. That is up from 66 days in December. Short sales were on the market for a median of 128 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 63 days, and non-distressed homes took 68 days. 30% of homes sold in January were on the market for less than a month.
The national median existing home price for all housing types was $199,600, up 6.3% from a year ago.