Last week’s economic readings release included reports on inflation, core inflation retail sales and retail sales excluding autos. Consumer sentiment, along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also reported.
Inflation Exceeds Expectations, Retail Sales Lag
Consumer prices rose 0.40 percent in August, which surpassed expectations of 0.30 percent growth and July’s reading of 0.10 percent. Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile food and energy sectors, matched expectations with a reading of 0.20 percent growth and exceeded July’s growth of 0.10 percent.
August retail sales fell to -0.20 percent against expectations of no change from July’s reading of 0.30 percent.
Retail sales excluding auto sales grew by 0.20 percent, which was lower than expected growth of 0.40 percent, which was based on July’s growth rate of 0.40 percent.
Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, Weekly Jobless Claims Dip
Freddie Mac reported no change for averaged fixed mortgage rates; the rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.78 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.08 percent and was also unchanged from last week’s reading. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by two basis points to 3.13 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. The readings for fixed rate mortgages were the lowest in 2017, and provided an ongoing incentive for home shoppers who continued to face high home prices and slim inventories of homes for sale.
New jobless claims were lower at 284,000 new claims filed than last week and were also lower than the expected reading of 300,000 first-time jobless claims The prior week’s reading reported 297,000 first-time jobless claims.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on home builder sentiment, existing home sales, housing starts and building permits issued. The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee will issue its post-meeting statement and Fed Chair Janet Yellen will give a press conference. Weekly readings for mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, please be sure to reach out to your local Mason Mac loan officer today.