This Week in Real Estate: February 13, 2017

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Consumer confidence was the theme of the week This Week in Real Estate as Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index hit a new high in January, and unemployment claims near a 43-year low. Below are a few highlights from the first full week of February that influence our business:

* Swift Gains in Fourth Quarter Push Home Prices to Peak Levels in Majority of Metro Areas. The best quarterly sales pace of the year pushed available housing supply to record lows and caused price appreciation to slightly speed up in the final three months of 2016, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. For all of 2016, an average of 87 percent of measured markets saw increasing home prices, up from the averages in 2015 (86 percent) and 2014 (75 percent). Of the 150 markets NAR has tracked since 2005, 78 (52 percent) now have a median sales price at or above their previous all-time high. In the West, existing-home sales rose 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter and are 9.1 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 7.8 percent to $348,800 in the fourth quarter from the fourth quarter of 2015.
Full Story… https://www.nar.realtor/news-releases/2017/02/swift-gains-in-fourth-quarter-push-home-prices-to-peak-levels-in-majority-of-metro-areas

* U.S. Jobless Claims Near 43-Year Low. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to near a 43-year low, amid a further tightening of the labor market that could eventually spur faster wage growth. Other data on Thursday showed inventories at wholesalers surged in December for a second straight month and sales recorded their biggest increase since 2011, signs of confidence in the economy as domestic demand strengthens. Claims have now remained below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strong labor market, for 101 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller. The labor market is at or close to full employment, with the unemployment rate at 4.8 percent after hitting a more than nine-year low of 4.6 percent in November.
Full Story…  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-unemployment-idUSKBN15O1MF?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FtopNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Top+News%29

* US Economic Confidence Index Hit New High in January. American’s confidence in the U.S. economy remained strong in January. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged +11, the highest monthly average in Gallup’s nine-year trend. Some of January’s three-day averages also marked new highs in Gallup’s tracking since 2008. The index peaked at +19 for the January 21 – 23 three-day average. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they feel the economy is improving or getting worse.
Full Story… http://www.gallup.com/poll/203510/economic-confidence-index-hit-new-high-january.aspx?utm_source=tagrss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=syndication

Have a productive week,
Jason

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