Last week’s economic news included readings on inflation, retail sales, and a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. The University of Michigan released a preliminary reading of its Consumer Sentiment Survey; weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims were also released.
Last week’s economic releases included readings on public and private sector employment, the national unemployment rate.
Home prices continued to grow in February according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. National home prices grew at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 4.20 percent as compared to national home price growth of 3.90 percent in January. Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index showed higher home price growth rates in February with average annual home price growth of 3.50 percent. January home prices grew by 3.10 percent for cities included in the 20-City Index.
According to data compiled by Realtor.com in the fourth quarter of 2019, it is still more affordable overall to rent versus buy a home — but just barely. The median monthly mortgage payment at the end of 2019 was $1,600, while the median monthly rent payment was $1,319. This is largely due to steadily-increasing rates, rising home prices, and near-record-low mortgage rates.
United States home prices increased by 3.90 percent year-over-year in January as compared to December’s growth rate of 3.70 percent according to Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index. Home prices also rose in Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index.
In the overwhelming majority of the 50 largest cities across the U.S., monthly rent is more than the mortgage payment for single-family homes. In several cases, much more.
The National Association of Home Builders reported a housing market index reading of 74 in February; the index reading was one point lower than for January and was only two points below the highest reading of 76 reported in December. Readings over 50 indicate that most builders consider housing market conditions to be positive.
The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve issued its scheduled post-meeting statement Wednesday. Policymakers unanimously decided to leave the target federal funds rate range unchanged at 1.50 to 1.75 percent.
Case-Shiller Home Price Indices reported that national growth of home prices rose by 0.30 percent in November. Analysts said that slim inventories of available homes boosted home prices. Whether or not home price growth continues gaining speed depends on variables including supplies of homes for sale, affordability and home-buyer confidence in the economy.
For many, owning property is seen as a rite of passage. At the same time, for most people, accomplishing this dream is largely dependent on the approval of a mortgage. For this reason, it is important for people to think carefully when deciding who to ask for a mortgage. Some cities have a higher mortgage approval rate than others.