Last Week’s Economic News in Review (December 29th, 2021)

December 29th, 2021

Sales of existing homes continued to grow, as did new home sales. Meanwhile, layoffs were unchanged.

Existing Home Sales

Transactions of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops continued expanding, rising 1.9 percent in November to an annual rate of 6.46 million, according to last week’s report from the National Association of Realtors. November’s sales marked the third straight month of sales growth but, compared to the same period a year ago, November sales were 2 percent lower than November 2020’s pace of 6.59 million.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun attributed November’s continued sales growth to buyers’ concerns over mortgage rates.

“Determined buyers were able to land housing before mortgage rates rise further in the coming months,” Yun said in a public statement. “Locking in a constant and firm mortgage payment motivated many consumers who grew weary of escalating rents over the last year.”

Looking at inventory, the number of existing homes for sale at the end of November was 1.11 million units, which represented a 2.1-month supply at November’s sales pace. November’s inventory was down 9.8 percent from October’s inventory and was 13.3 percent below November 2020’s supply of 1.28 million units.

November’s median price for existing homes of all types was $353,900, which was unchanged from October’s median of $353,900, but was 13.9 percent higher than November 2020’s median price of $310,800. This was the 117th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

New Home Sales

Sales of new, single-family homes jumped to an annual rate of 744,000 in November, which was 12.4 percent up from October’s revised pace of 662,000, the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported last week.

While up from the previous month, November’s sales were below economists’ expectations of a larger increase to an annual rate of 766,000 for the month. Also, when compared to the same period a year ago, November’s sales were 14 percent below November 2020’s pace of 865,000.

Looking at pricing, the median price for new single-family homes sold in November rose to $416,900, which was 2 percent higher than October’s revised median price of $408,700 and 18.8 percent higher than November 2020’s median price of $350,800.

Looking at inventory, the estimated number of new homes for sale at the end of November totaled 402,000, representing a 6.5-month supply at November’s sales rate.

Initial Jobless Claims

In employment news, first-time claims for unemployment benefits filed by recently unemployed Americans during the week ending December 18th remained at 205,000, which was unchanged from the previous week’s revised total of 205,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week.

This was slightly lower than economists’ expectations of a small increase in initial jobless claims to 206,000. Regardless, claims remain in safe territory, given that economists consider anything lower than 300,000 claims a sign of a growing job market.

The four-week moving average, which is considered a more stable measure of jobless claims, rose to 206,250, which was 2,750 claims above the preceding week’s revised average of 203,500 claims.

This week, we can expect:

Wednesday – ade in goods for November from the Census Bureau.

Thursday – Initial jobless claims for last week from the Employment and Training Administration.

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Omar Khamisa
Mission San Jose Mortgage
2111 W. March Lane, Suite B100
Stockton, CA 95207
Office: 209-651-2000
Mobile: 510-648-5535
Fax: 209-434-2311
NMLS: 369325


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