Confidence among U.S. consumers was little changed in April. The Conference Board’s Confidence index was little changed at 69.2 compared to a revised 69.5 in the prior month. Forecast was for 69.6. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment cooled in April from a one-year high.
U.S. March average new home sale price $291,200, the highest since December 2010. Sales of new U.S. homes were stronger than projected in March, indicating cheaper borrowing costs are helping stabilize the real estate market. The Commerce Department said, purchases ran at a 328,000 annual rate, a decline of 7.1% from a revised 353,000 pace in February that was faster than first projected. Economists forecast a March rate of 319,000.
Sales of previously owned homes fell in March for a second month, dropping 2.6% to a 4.48 million annual rate. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 cities recorded a decline of 3.5% from 12 months earlier. The 10-city composite dipped 3.6% year-over-year.
Job gains, mortgage rates close to all-time lows and cheaper properties are underpinning an industry that’s been the economy’s weak spot. At the same time, progress in residential real estate is being limited by distressed properties, stricter bank lending standards and the threat of more foreclosures.
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond showed manufacturing in its region grew at 14, a faster pace this month.
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