See Search Box
lower down this column for searches of Finfacts news pages. Where there may be
the odd special character missing from an older page, it's a problem that
developed when Interactive Tools upgraded to a new content management system.
Finfacts is Ireland's leading business information site and
you are in its business news section.
US businesses expanded in December for the fifteenth
consecutive month and at the fastest pace in two decades,
confirming that the economic recovery is accelerating ahead
of the New Year. New weekly jobless benefit claims dipped by
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago
reported today that its business barometer rose to 68.6 this
month to the highest level since July 1988. Figures greater
than 50 signal expansion.
reached its highest
levels since October 2004;
improved to 2005
reached its highest
level in more than 5 years;
accelerated to its
highest point since July 2008.
Pending home sales rose again in
November, with the broad trend over the past five months indicating a gradual
recovery into 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, rose 3.5% to 92.2
based on contracts signed in November from a downwardly revised 89.1 in October.
The index is 5.0% below a reading of 97.0 in November 2009. The data reflects
contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said historically high housing affordability
is boosting sales activity. “In addition to exceptional affordability
conditions, steady improvements in the economy are helping bring buyers into the
market,” he said. “But further gains are needed to reach normal levels of sales
The PHSI in the Northeast increased 1.8% to 72.6 in November but is 6.2% below
November 2009. In the Midwest the index declined 4.2% in November to 78.3 and is
7.7% below a year ago. Pending home sales in the South slipped 1.8% to an index
of 91.4 and are 7.2% below November 2009. In the West the index jumped 18.2% to
123.3 and is 0.4% above a year ago.
“If we add 2m jobs as expected in 2011, and mortgage rates rise only
moderately, we should see existing-home sales rise to a higher, sustainable
volume,” Yun said. “Credit remains tight, but if lenders return to more
normal, safe underwriting standards for creditworthy buyers, there would be a
bigger boost to the housing market and spillover benefits for the broader
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is forecast to rise gradually to 5.3% around the
end of 2011; at the same time, unemployment should drop to 9.2%.
What to expect from the housing market in 2011, with Prof. Karl Case, S&P/Case-Shiller Index:
On Wednesday, the quarterly report
by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift
Supervision showed that 87.4% of the 33.3m loans in the portfolio were current
and performing at the end of the third quarter of 2010, a level unchanged from
the previous quarter.
Although the percentage of seriously delinquent mortgages (60 or more days
delinquent or delinquent loans to bankrupt borrowers) decreased by 6.4% from the
previous quarter, the percentage of mortgages that were 30 to 59 days delinquent
increased by 4.3%.
Foreclosures increased during the third quarter, reflecting the large number of
seriously delinquent borrowers moving through the foreclosure process after
lenders exhausted home retention options.
The number of new foreclosures increased to more than 382,000 - - 31.2%
more than in the previous quarter and 3.7% more than a year earlier. The
number of foreclosures in process increased to 1.2m - - 4.5% more than in
the previous quarter and 10.1% more than a year earlier. The number of
completed foreclosures also increased to nearly 187,000 - -14.7% more than in
the previous quarter and 57.5% more than a year earlier.
Although foreclosure activity increased during the quarter, lenders reported
almost twice as many home retention actions as completed home forfeiture
actions. Lenders implemented 470,321 home retention actions - - loan
modifications, trial period plans, and shorter term payment plans—compared with
244,840 home forfeiture actions.
Meanwhile, sales of new single-family
houses in November 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 290,000,
according to estimates released jointly by the US Census Bureau and the
Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This is 5.5% above the revised October rate of 275,000, but is
21.2% below the November 2009 estimate of 368,000.
The median sales price of new houses sold in November 2010 was
$213,000; the average sales price was $268,700. The seasonally adjusted estimate
of new houses for sale at the end of November was 197,000. This represents a
supply of 8.2 months at the current sales rate.
The Department of Labor reported today that in the week ending Dec.
25th, seasonally adjusted initial weekly jobless claims was 388,000, a decrease
of 34,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 422,000. The 4-week moving
average was 414,000, a decrease of 12,500 from the previous week's revised
average of 426,500.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week
ending Dec.18 was 4,128,000, an increase of 57,000 from the preceding week's
revised level of 4,071,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,120,000, a decrease
of 37,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,157,250.
New US claims for unemployment benefits dropped more than expected last week to touch their lowest level in more than two years, with Jim Iuorio, TJM Institutional Services, John Ryding, RDQ Economics, and CNBC's Rick Santelli:
CNBC's Hampton Pearson and Rick Santelli break down the rise in November pending home sales: