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The Week Ahead: Will Existing Home Sales Find Their Balance?

for-saleExpect to see an influx of industry news in the last full week of February, including the highly-anticipated existing-home sales report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The last two reports on existing sales for November and December were hot and cold. Now, the industry is wondering what January's report will reveal.

The NAR reported that existing-home sales rose 14.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in December, up from 4.46 million in November. Year-over-year, existing-home sales are up 7.7 percent, and December's jump will mark the largest increase ever.

"We should expect next month's numbers to stabilize from the erratic November and December swings as agents and lenders continue to adapt to these new lending regulations. Last, the Federal Reserve's decision to increase interest rates by 0.25 percent last month didn't impact existing home sales, since mortgage rates have actually dropped sharply over the past month," said Ralph B. McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia.

Here is the lineup for the week:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

S&P Case-Shiller HPI

9:00 AM ET

In the midst of what some are calling a global crisis—due to weaknesses in the energy sector and stock market combined with the effects of an overly strong U.S. dollar—home prices continue to move upward. Despite this however the housing sector is just not large enough to carry the weight of the world. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index (HPI) found that home prices rose for the 43rd consecutive month in November 2015.

Existing Home Sales

10:00 AM ET

"We should expect next month's numbers to stabilize from the erratic November and December swings as agents and lenders continue to adapt to these new lending regulations. Last, the Federal Reserve's decision to increase interest rates by 0.25 percent last month didn't impact existing home sales, since mortgage rates have actually dropped sharply over the past month," said Ralph B. McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New Home Sales

10:00 AM ET

Buyers are beginning to show their increasing demand for housing by purchasing more homes since the end of the financial crisis, but inventory remains an issue. U.S. Census Bureau and the HUD reported that sales of new single-family houses rose 10.8 percent from November 2015 to December 2015 to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000. In November, the revised rate of new home sales was 491,000.

 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

FHFA House Price Index

9:00 AM ET

Home prices are still climbing higher, even though the season change has caused things to slow down quite a bit in the housing market. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported in their House Price Index (HPI) that home prices in the U.S. increased 0.5 percent from September to October on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Friday, February 26, 2016

GDP

8:30 AM ET

Much has been made of the economic improvements that led the Federal Reserve to raise the short-term interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade in December 2015. However, economic growth nearly ground to a halt in the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)“advance” estimate for the fourth quarter of 2015, coming in at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent in the data. This estimate follows GDP growth of 2.0 percent in the third quarter and 3.9 percent in the second quarter.

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