4/23/21: EconUpdate by P. Duffy

EconUpdate by P. Duffy

Existing home sales dip 3.7 percent in March, median sales price up 17.2 percent year-on-year

What does this mean?  High demand, low inventory and attractive mortgage rates continue to drive prices higher.

March existing-home sales fell 3.7 percent from the prior month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.01 million as sales in all major regions declined, but were still up 12.3 percent year-on-year.  Unsold inventory sits at a 2.1-month supply at the current sales pace, marginally up from February’s 2.0-month supply and down from the 3.3-month supply recorded in March 2020.  The median existing-home sales price in March rose by a record-breaking annual pace of 17.2% to a historic high of $329,100, with all regions posting double-digit price gains.


Leading Economic Index rebounds sharply in March

What does this mean?  February’s temporary dip did not stop the longer-term trend of improving economic indicators.

The U.S. Leading Economic Index rose sharply, or 1.3 percent, in March to 111.6, which more than offset February’s slightly negative revised figure.The widespread gains among the leading indicators are supported by an accelerating vaccination campaign, gradual lifting of mobility restrictions, as well as current and expected fiscal stimulus. The recent trend in the U.S. LEI is consistent with the economy picking up in the coming months, and The Conference Board now projects year-over-year growth could reach 6.0 percent in 2021.


Initial unemployment claims dip 6.6 percent to lowest level since mid-March of 2020

What doe this mean? Unemployment claims continue to trend lower as the economy reopens.

In the week ending April 17, initial unemployment claims were 547,000, a decrease of 39,000, or 6.6 percent, from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. Continued claims during the week ending April 10 were 3,674,000, a decrease of 34,000, or 0.9 percent, from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since March 21, 2020 when it was 3,094,000. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending April 3 was 17,405,094, an increase of 491,674 from the previous week.