Economic Update – May 30, 2011

New home sales rose 7.3% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 323,000 units from an upwardly revised rate of 301,000 units in March. Economists had expected a pace of 300,000 units in April.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending May 20 rose 1.1%. Refinancing applications increased 0.9%. Purchase volume rose 1.1%.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — fell 3.6% in April after a revised 4.4% increase in March. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly decrease of 1.5%.

The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 1.8% in the first quarter of 2011. This follows a 3.1% pace of growth in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Retail sales fell 1% for the week ending May 21, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 3.1%.

Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, fell 11.6% in April after a 5.1% increase in March. On a year-over-year basis, pending sales are down 26.5%.

The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for May’s final reading rose to 74.3 from 69.8 in April.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 to 424,000 for the week ending May 21. Continuing claims for the week ending May 14 fell by 46,000 to 3.69 million.

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Foreclosure Report – April 2011

Foreclosure activity slowed in April. Foreclosure filings were down in Arizona, California, Nevada and Washington, with Oregon being the sole exception where filings were up. California filings were down to levels not seen since late 2008, when governmental intervention caused a temporary but massive drop in activity. Foreclosure sales saw similar declines throughout our coverage area, except Washington. Notably, cancellations were up significantly across the board, leaving fewer properties scheduled for trustee sale.
"The drop in filings, and the rise in cancellations, is surprising," says Sean O’Toole, CEO and Founder of ForeclosureRadar.com. "Banks have had time to resolve robo-signing issues, so we should be seeing exactly the opposite results, with lenders starting to catch up from recent delays."

California

Foreclosure filings in California fell to lows not seen since the fall of 2008. Notice of Default filings dropped 25.8 percent, and Notice of Trustee Sale filings fell 10.9 percent from March. On a year-over-year basis foreclosure filings were down as well, with Notice of Default filings down 28.0 percent and Notice of Trustee Sale filings falling 31.2 percent from April 2010. Foreclosure sale cancellations rose 27.0 percent from March. Acivity on the courthouse steps slowed from the prior month, with 17.2 percent fewer sales Back to Bank and a 15.8 percent drop in properties purchased by 3rd Parties, typically investors. The average Time to Foreclose continued to climb, increasing 3.3 percent to 312 days.

View all California stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Economic Update – May 9, 2011

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of manufacturing activity fell to 60.4 in April after reaching 61.2 in March. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 21st straight month of expansion.

Total construction spending rose 1.4% to $768.9 billion in March, following a 1.4% decrease in February. Economists had anticipated an increase of 0.5% in March.

Retail sales fell 0.8% for the week ending April 30, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2.8%.

Factory orders rose 3% in March to a seasonally adjusted $462.9 billion, following an upwardly revised 0.7% increase in February. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders rose 2.6%.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending April 29 rose 4%. Refinancing applications increased 6%. Purchase volume rose 0.3%.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of non-manufacturing activity fell to 52.8 in April from 57.3 in March. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 16th straight month of expansion in the services sector.

The Labor Department reported that in the first quarter productivity rose at an annual rate of 1.6% and labor costs increased at an annual rate of 1%.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 43,000 to 474,000 for the week ending April 30. Continuing claims for the week ending April 23 rose by 74,000 to 3.73 million. The monthly unemployment rate rose to 9% in April from 8.8% in March.


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Economic Update – March 14, 2011

Last Week in the News


The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending March 4 rose 15.5%. Refinancing applications increased 17.2%. Purchase volume rose 12.5%.

Wholesale inventories were at their highest level since November 2008, increasing 1.1% to $436.88 billion in January. This followed a revised 1.3% rise in December. Sales at the wholesale level rose 3.4% in January, the largest gain since November 2009.

Retail sales rose 1% to $387.1 billion in February after a 0.7% increase in January. It was the eighth straight monthly gain. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales rose 8.9%.

According to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit debt rose in January by $5.01 billion for a total credit level of $2.41 trillion. Figures for December were revised from an initial gain of $6.1 billion to a gain of $4.1 billion. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, fell by $4.25 billion. Non-revolving debt, including loans for cars, rose by $9.26 billion.

The trade deficit increased 15.1% to $46.3 billion in January from $40.3 billion in December. Economists had expected a trade deficit of $40 billion. Exports rose 2.7% to $167.7 billion. Imports increased 5.2% to $214.1 billion.

Total business inventories rose 0.9% in January to $1.45 trillion, up 9.1% from a year ago. Total business sales increased 2% to $1.17 trillion in January, up 10.8% from a year ago.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 26,000 to 397,000 for the week ending March 5. Continuing claims for the week ending February 26 fell by 20,000 to 3.77 million.

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