Last week's economic news was highlighted by Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech in Philadelphia. Although Chair Yellen alluded to future Fed rate hikes, she did not specify when Fed policymakers would next raise the target federal funds rate.
Last week's housing related news was limited to Construction Spending and Freddie Mac's mortgage rates survey, but labor reports suggested an economic slowdown may be in the works.
In its post-meeting statement, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise the current federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent. Although FOMC members acknowledged further improvement in the U.S. economy and jobs markets.
Home buyers kicked the spring home shopping season into gear and boosted sales of pre-owned homes in March.
Last week's scheduled economic releases included reports on retail sales, inflation and the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Last week's economic news included minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Last week's economic calendar was full of new releases including pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and construction spending. Labor related reports including ADP payrolls, federal Non-farm payrolls, and the national unemployment rate were also released along with reports on consumer confidence and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.
New home rose in February according to the Commerce Department. Based on a revised reading of 502,000 new home sales in January, February's reading was 2.00 percent higher than January's reading, but was 6.10 percent lower than for February 2015. Builders have held back on increasing construction due to concerns about ups and downs in the economic recovery. Short supplies of labor and available land have also kept home builders from meeting current demand.
Shortages of available homes are a major factor in rising home prices; shortages also make it more difficult for buyers to find homes they want. Housing starts in February rose, which is good news for the peak spring and summer home buying season.