Home Sales Jump Up in Westchester County

The Commerce Department reported new home sales jumped 9.6% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 from an upwardly revised rate of 395,000 in June. July’s sales pace was the highest since September 2008. Economists had expected a sales pace of 390,000 units.

The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index rose to 54.1 in August from a revised 47.4 in July. Economists had expected an increase to 47.9. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.

The Standard & Poor’s / Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index rose 1.4% in June, following a 0.5% increase in May. The 1.4% gain was the most since June 2005. In the second quarter, the housing price index rose 2.9%. It was the first quarterly gain since 2006.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — rose 4.9% in July. It was the largest increase since July 2007. Economists had anticipated orders for durable goods would rise 3%. Excluding automobiles and aircraft, durable goods rose 0.8%, the third consecutive increase.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications for the week ending August 21 rose 7.5% to 566.4 from 527 in the prior week. Purchase volume rose 1% to 280.4. Refinancing applications increased 12.7% to 2,233.5.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to 570,000 in the week ending August 22. The figure was slightly higher than the 565,000 that economists had forecast. The number of people continuing to claim jobless benefits in the week ending August 15 plunged by 119,000 to 6.13 million.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending and pending home sales on September 1, and factory orders on September 2.

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