Case Shiller Home Prices Index Continues Slow Increases

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • Case Shiller CoreLogic indices ROSE in July but by the slowest pace in almost a year;
  • The 10-city index EDGED UP 0.03 percent and the 20-city index ROSE 0.13 percent in July compared with increases of 0.26 percent and 0.38 percent respectively in June;
  • Year-year the 10-city index was UP 1.6 percent and the 20-city index ROSE 2.0 percent in July after annual increases of 1.9 percent and 2.2 percent in June;
  • Year-year growth in both indices was the weakest since 2012
  • The national index IMPROVED 0.39 percent in July compared with 0.59 percent in June and was UP 3.2 percent year-year, matching June;
  • The price index FELL in three cities in July, after falling in only one in June
  • Year-year growth for the 10-, 20-city and national indices also ROSE but was the weakest year-year growth in seven years
  • Year-year the price index ROSE in July in all but one of the 20 cities surveyed (Seattle), but the year-year increase was slower in 10 of the 20 cities than it had been in June.

Trends:

  • The price index rose in all four census regions led by a 0.6 percent increase in the Midwest;
  • The July increases were slower than June in 13 cities;
  • The price index rose for the 19th straight month in Miami and 11th straight month in Dallas.

Data Source: S&P Case Shiller/Core Logic

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Home values continued to creep up in July but at a snail’s pace according to the Case Shiller Core-Logic Home Price Index and the year-year growth in values continued to slow.

The month-month price gains in July were weaker than June, just as they had been in June compared with May, May compared with April and April compared with March. The pattern matched the strong of declining growth at the end of 2006 presaging the housing tailspin of 2007 and 2008. Home values declined, per the Case Shiller index for 37 straight months beginning in January 2007.

That’s not to say we’re headed for an equally prolonged housing crash, but Robert Shiller, one of the progenitors of the eponymous home price index, remains fearful.

“It would not surprise me at all if in the next year or two we saw modest declines in home prices and if things play out right, there could be bigger declines,” Shiller said recently.

In a new book, Narrative Economic, Shiller cautioned economists should focus less on the data in economic reports and more on the behavior leading to the data. As an example, he noted a consumer cut in spending exacerbates an economic downturn, making the data look even worse.

According to Shiller, studying the behavior of consumers can improve our ability to predict, prepare for, and lessen the damage of financial crises, recessions, depressions, and other major economic events.

Ideas, he argues, can go viral and move markets―whether it’s the belief that tech stocks can only go up, that housing prices never fall, or that some firms are too big to fail. That said, he doesn’t explain how consumers will find the wherewithal to continue spending as the economy around them falters.

All this provides background to the most recent Case Shiller CoreLogic Home Price Index which, whether due to data or anecdote, continues to show weakness in the housing sector, weakness that can, in part, be traced back to the tax law changes which went into effect at the end of 2017, reducing the tax benefits of homeownership. Indeed, since in the 20 months since December 2017 when the tax changes were signed into law, the Case Shiller 20-city home price index has risen 6.6 percent compared with a 9.3 percent increase in the 20 months before the tax law took effect,

According to the July report, prices rose 3.2 percent year-year in July, The National Association of Realtors reported that for July the median price of an existing single-family home was up 4.1 percent over the previous July.

According to the Case Shiller data, prices rose fastest in Cleveland in July, up 1.1 percent, the only city to show a month-month increase of 1 percent or more. Home prices fell 0.3 percent in Los Angles and 0.1 percent in each New York and Washington DC. Year-year prices fell 0.6 percent in Seattle but increased fastest in Phoenix (5.8 percent).

Hear Mark Lieberman this Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio’s Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 am Eastern Time. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

Modest Increase in 1st-time Unemployment Insurance Claims

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 208,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended September 14, 2019, an INCREASE of2,000from the previous week’s upwardly revised 206,000 (from 204,000);
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims FELL 750 to 212,250;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.135 percent of employment, unchanged from the prior week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,661,000 for the week ended September 7, DOWN 13,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,674,000 (from 1,670,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 3,750 to 1,677,500;

Trends:

  • The week-week increase in initial claim was the third in the last four weeks;
  • The decline in the four-week moving average of initial claims was the third in the last four weeks;
  • The drop in the four-week moving average of continued claims was the fourth in the last five weeks.

Data Source: Department of Labor

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The southeast dodged a labor sector bullet from Hurricane Dorian according to unemployment claims data reported Thursday by the Labor Department.

Two weeks after the storm which was preceded with dire warnings for Florida and the Carolinas, claims for unemployment insurance were essentially at pre-storm levels.

And, the report – covering the same “reference” week used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for its monthly Employment Situation release, suggested the nation’s unemployment rate will not go up from the 3.7 percent level of the last three months. Comparison data for the reference week for continued claims won’t be available until next week. The Employment Situation report for September is scheduled for release October 4.

According to data not seasonally adjusted, first-time claims rose most sharply in California which accounted for 36 percent of the increase in new claims.

The weekly report reaffirmed initial reports that minimized the impact on businesses of Hurricane Dorian with relatively few jobs affected.

You can hear Mark Lieberman Friday mornings at 6:20 am on POTUS’ Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

Housing Construction Soars in August — on Multi-Family Gains

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • Homebuilding activity, measured by housing permits and starts ROSE SHARPLY in August with both permits and starts recording their largest month-month increases of the year;
  • The seasonally adjusted annual rate of total permits ROSE 7.7 percent or 102,000 to1.42 million, the highest level since May 2007;
  • Permits for new single-family homes rose 4.5 percent or 37,000 to 866,000;
  • The SAAR of all housing starts ROSE 12.3 percent or 149,000 to 1.36 million;
  • Single-family permits ROSE 4,4 percent or 39,000 while multi-family starts INCREASED 110,000 or 32.8 percent to 445,000;
  • The rate of total housing completions ROSE 30,000 or 2.4 percent in August; The SAAR of single-family completions ROSE 3.7 percent or 34,000 while the pace of multi-family completions FELL 4,000 or 1.1 percent;
  • The pace of single-family housing completions for July exceeded the pace of new home sales in July (the most recent month available) by 43 percent compared with 21 percent in June.

Trends:

  • About 61 percent of the total number of August permits were for single-family homes, lower than the 63 percent share from January through July
  • The pace of total housing permits for July was revised down 19,000, increasing the August gain;
  • The rate of single-family permits was up year-year for the first time in 11 months;
  • Total starts ROSE to their highest level since June 2007.

Data Source: Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development

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Homebuilding – led by multi-family activity – improved in August as single-family home construction continued to struggle.

That’s been the story for the last four years as single-family construction – either permits or starts – continue to fall as a percentage of all housing permits and well below levels in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

In 2015, for example, single-family permits were 60.0 percent of all permits, down from 74.1 percent in 2010. While the year-to-date share is up from 2015, it just 62.9 percent.

For housing starts, single-family homes represented 80.5 percent of all starts dipping to 64.4 percent in 2015. The current year-to-date share is a more respectable 69.4 percent but still 11 percentage points below 2010.

At the same time, new home sales continue to struggle with younger buyers trending more to multi-family units which tend to be closer to urban cores.

The Census and Housing and Urban Development data came just one day after the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported its Housing Market Index rose slightly with builders seeing improvement in all three components of the index: current home sales, home sales six months out and buyer traffic.

Indeed, the HMI may have foretold the Census data.

That said, both the sales and construction figures remain well below pre-Recession levels, especially concerning as mortgage rates are at near-record lows.

Younger, potential home-buyers remain saddled with heavy student loan debt burdens affecting their ability to take advantage of the low rates.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on POTUS Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

Builder Confidence At 15-month High in September

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Data Highlights:

  • Housing Market Index ROSE one point in September to 68 (out of 100);
  • The short-term outlook for home sales ADDED two points but the outlook for sales in six months FELL a point;
  • The gauge of buyer traffic was unchanged from August;
  • The Index for August was REVISED UP one point to 67.
  • By region, builder confidence ROSE in three of the four Census regions and unchanged in the fourth, the Midwest.

Trends:

  • The total index was UP year-year for the first time since September 2018;
  • The overall index hit its highest level since June 2018.

Data Source: National Association of Home Builders

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Builder confidence continues to try to put the lie to sales and permit statistics showing weakness in home building Despite weakness in new home sales and new residential permits and starts, builders remain confident about residential housing markets.

The most recent Census report on housing permits and starts, for example, showed starts down 4.0 percent month-month and essentially flat to 2018. It was the third straight month housing starts had fallen.

And the most recent report on new home sales showed them down 12.8 percent month-month, the steepest month-month decline in six years.

Nonetheless. the Housing Market Index computed by the National Association of Home Builders showed builder confidence at its highest point in over a year, rising for the third month in a row. Even the first reading for August was revised up for the most recent, September, report.

Builders are bullish about near-term sales though not as sanguine about sales six months out and are seeing relatively strong buyer traffic.  

At least that’s what they’re telling the National Association of Home Builders in its monthly three question survey which checks views about the current sales market for new homes, views of the market six months out and the flow of buyer traffic to model homes.

Builder sentiment continues to outpace the reality of weak new home sales however. And, sales are likely to take their seasonal dip as autumn approaches. The months between school semesters are said to be the strongest months for home sales as parents try to settle in new homes before a new school begins.

The NAHB data showed a distinct regional tilt with confidence jumping in the Northeast and to a lesser degree in the South but slipping in the Midwest and West. Confidence hit 65 (out of 100) in the Northeast, matching May with the highest reading since 2005.

Indeed, recent news reports suggest builders may be dusting off incentives to, improving again in July although new home sales for May (the last reporting month) fell and new home sales sit at their lowest point of the year.

The builders may be encouraged by continued low mortgage rates as reported by Freddie Mac in its weekly survey. Freddie Mac reported last week the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate loan was 3.56 percent, down from 4.60 a year ago. That drop of 1.04 percentage points would reduce the monthly payment on a 30-year $300,000 loan to $1,363.94 from $1,537.93 a savings of about $175 per month.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 am Eastern Time. Follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @ foxeconomics.

Retail Sales UP in August for Sixth Straight Month

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • Retail sales (measured by prices) ROSE a 0.4 percent or $1.9 billion in August, about half of July’s upwardly revised 0.9 percent gain;
  • Non-store retail (online) sales led all retail sectors and GREW $1.1 billion or 1.6 percent;
  • Non-store retailers accounted for 12.8 percent of all retail activity in August, up from 12.7 percent in July and 12.2 percent a year ago;
  • Gasoline stations FELL $405 million or 0.9 percent as gasoline prices FELL 4.3 percent from July to August;
  • Auto sales ROSE $1.82 billion or 1.8 percent in August;
  • Excluding autos, retail activity was up a modest $63 million or .02 percent in August;
  • Other than gasoline stations, restaurants, clothing stores, food and beverage stores and appliance stores showed a dip in sales from July to August;
  • Beyond auto and non-store retailers, retail activity rose at building material and garden supply stores, sporting goods stores and health and personal care stores;
  • All retail activity was up 4.1 percent year-year in August – compared with 3.6 percent in July — while the Consumer Price Index rose 1.7 percent from August 2018 to August 2019.

Trends:

  • Total retail sales have increased for six straight months, the longest stretch since 2017 when sales were up for seven straight months from June through December;
  • BLS reported the number of retail jobs FELL in August and have fallen for seven straight months; The number of retail jobs fell in August to the lowest level since January 2016.

Data source: Census Bureau

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Tariff-fueled retail sales rose again in August offering a somewhat cloudy picture of the economy.

The Census Bureau’s monthly report is not adjusted for price changes, is more a gauge of prices, many of which have been rising as a result of the imposition of tariffs on Chinese and other imported goods. The next round of tariff hikes is due in December according to the Trump Administration.

One element helping sales is the drop in gasoline prices which has enabled consumers to withstand the higher prices resulting from the higher tariffs. The price of a gallon of gasoline fell 11.9¢ per gallon in August and is down 7.6 percent in the last year.

Sales at both furniture stores and electronics/appliance stores have both remained sluggish reflecting a weaker home sales market.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 am Eastern Time. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.  

1st-time Unemployment Insurance Drop Sharply; Little Impact from Dorian

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 204,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended September 7, 2019, a DECREASE of15,000from the previous week’s upwardly revised 219,000 (from 217,000);
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims FELL 4,250 to 212,500;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.135 percent of employment, DOWN from the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,670,000 for the week ended August 31, DOWN 4,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,674,000 (from 1,662,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 14,500 to 1,680,250;

Trends:

  • The week-week decline in initial claims, 15,000, was the largest drop number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance since the week-ended May 11, 2019, when the week-week decline was 16,000;
  • The drop in the four-week moving average of continued claims was the steepest since the week ended April 13 when the four-week moving average of continued claims fell 22,250 to 1,687,500;
  • The number of continued claims was 5,000 higher than a year ago, on the second time since January 2010 continued claims were higher than they had been a year earlier. (The first time was four weeks ago.)

Data Source: Department of Labor   

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Separate from its devastating impact in the Bahamas and despite dire forecast and warnings, Hurricane Dorian appears to have little impact on labor markets in the two weeks since it threatened Florida and other coastal states.

Indeed, the number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell in the week after the storm and in the week immediately following the hurricane, Florida was one of the states with largest declines in initial claims. Georgia and both North and South Carolina also registered declines.

That doesn’t mean the situation won’t be reversed as the impact of the storm begins to settle in. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey which made landfall in Texas on Friday, August 25 two years ago, initial unemployment insurance claims jumped 61,000, in the Labor Department report for the week ended September 2. In the interim, Hurricane Irma struck Florida on August 30.

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy battered the Northeast on Monday, October 29. The claims report for the week ended November 3, 2012, showed a slight increase of 1,000 in initial unemployment insurance claims, but for the week ended November 10 that year claims skyrocketed by 81,000

Within just a few weeks, claims filings returned to pre-storm ranges and the number of continued claims dropped as well suggested individuals laid off by the storms were rehired.

You can hear Mark Lieberman Friday mornings at 6:20 am on POTUS’ Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

Job Openings Dip in July, Signals Labor Downturn

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • Hiring in July ROSE 4.1 percent from June to 5.95 million
  • Job openings at the end of July FELL 0.4 percent to 7.22 million;
  • The ratio of job openings per unemployed EDGED DOWN to 1.19 in July from 1.21 in June.

Trends:

  • Job openings dropped to the lowest level since May 2018: 7.13 million
  • Hiring in July rose to the second highest level since the JOLTS data began in December 2000; highest level was 5.99 million in April this year;
  • July hires represented 82.1 percent of end-of-June job openings, highest percentage since May 2018;
  • Number of job openings fell for the second straight month for the first time since December 2016-January 2017;
  • Job openings per unemployed fell for the fourth straight month for the first time since 2008-2009.

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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There were more warning signs about the job market Tuesday in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report.

Indeed, employers may have dipped as deep as they could in July into the pool of available workers, filling 82.1 percent of June’s end-of-month job openings. As a result, job openings at the end of July were down to a 14-month low, falling for the first time in more than two years.

And, the ratio of job openings per unemployed, though well-below Great Recession levels, fell for the fourth straight month making getting a job from unemployment more challenging. That said, the number of “quits” rose almost 4 percent in July to 3.59 million, all all-time high. Even though the number of layoffs-and-discharges rose in July, the ratio of quits to layoffs-and-discharges remained at 2:1.

With the sharp increase in hires in July, the nation remained on pace to exceed last year’s total of 68.9 million hires though separations are in pace as well.

While those numbers suggest another good labor market year, it’s the short-term outlook that could be cloudy. The high “usage” rate of job openings suggested a slowdown in hiring and indeed the BLS’ Employment Situation report last week showed an increase of 130,000 new payroll jobs, weaker than had been expected and disappointing (except, of course, for those who got the new jobs!).

The outlook remains dim though in several industry sectors. The number of job openings fell in July in construction, leisure-and-hospitality, wholesale-and-retail trade and professional and business services even as the number of unemployed in several of those sectors rose.

You can hear Mark Lieberman on P.O.T.U.S Morning Briefing (Sirius 124) every Friday at 6:20 am Eastern Time. Follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

Economy Adds Disappointing 130K jobs in August; Unemployment Rate Holds at 3.7%

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights of the Employment Situation report for August

  • Number of payroll jobs INCREASED 130,000 in August;
  • The economy has added 1,266,000 jobs in the first eight months of 2019, DOWN 32.3 percent from 1,871,000 in the first eight months of 2018 and DOWN 14.5 percent from 1,481,000 in the first eight months of 2017;
  • Unemployment rate in August REMAINED at 3.7 percent (though taken out to one more decimal the unemployment rate DROPPED to 3.69 percent from 3.71 percent);
  • Unemployment rate for blacks FELL to 5.5 percent, the lowest rate since such statistics began in 1972;
  • Unemployment rate for Latinos FELL to 4.2 percent matching the record low in April and May this year (the government began collecting employment data on Latinos in 1973);
  • Private sector payrolls GREW 96,000, under 100,000 for the third time in the last two years;
  • Government payrolls INCREASED 34,000, the largest month-month increase in a year as the federal government added 28,000 (25,000 Census-related) jobs;
  • Average weekly earnings INCREASED $6.58 in August to $966.98, a 2.9 percent year-year gain; August marked the fifth straight month of year-year weekly income growth of under 3.0 percent;
  • Average hourly earnings GREW 11¢, in August to $28.11 a 3.2 percent annual increase. The average work week, which had fallen to 34.3 hours in July, moved back to 34.4 in August, multiplying the impact of the increase in hourly earnings;
  • About one of every five new jobs came in the two lowest paying sectors, retail and leisure and hospitality. In fact, the number of retail jobs dropped for the seventh straight month;
  • Prior month job totals were REVISED DOWN, a combined 20,000, cutting further into the August job growth; July’s originally reported increase of 164,000 jobs was reduced to 159,000 and the number of new jobs in June was lowered to 178,000 from the last report of 193,000.
  • The employment-population ratio – an unqualified measure of the “employment rate” – ROSE to 60.7 percent, its highest level since December 2008;
  • Construction sector ADDED 14,000 jobs, half of which came in non-residential building; the number of residential construction jobs GREW by 2,000;

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday morning at 6:20 am on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM 124. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

1st-time Unemployment Insurance Edge Up

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 217,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended Aug 31, 2019, an INCREASE of1,000from the previous week’s upwardly revised 216,000 (from 215,000);
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims ROSE 1,500 to 216,250;
  • Four -week moving average represented 0.137 percent of employment, UNCHANGED from the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,662,000 for the week ended August 24, DOWN 39,000 from the previous week’s upwardly REVISED 1,701,000 (from 1,698,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 6,250 to 1,691,750;

Trends:

  • The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance increased for the second straight week and third time in the last four weeks;
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims rose for the fourth time in the last five weeks;
  • On a percentage basis, the increase in the four-week moving average of first-time claims (1.3 percent) was the largest since mid-May.

Data Source: Department of Labor

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Before any impact from Hurricane Dorian, the number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance inched up in the last week of August. Larger, temporary, increases are likely in the wake of the storm, if history is any guide.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey two years ago, initial unemployment insurance claims jumped 61,000, 25.5 percent but then fell for five of the next six weeks, reverting to the pre-storm range.

In the second week after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, unemployment ranks swelled 81,000 but then fell back over the ensuing four weeks.

Thursday’s Labor Department report will have no impact on the Employment Situation data to be released tomorrow with the unemployment rate and job creation statistics for August. The monthly ADP survey which tracks private sector jobs said the number of jobs jumped 195,000 in August, up from 156,000 in July. In July the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the economy added 164,000 jobs including 16,000 new government jobs.

Comparing the mid-month tallies of first -time and continued unemployment claims suggests the potential for a further reduction in the 3.7 percent unemployment rate. First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell 18,000 from mid-July to mid-August and the four-week moving average of initial claims dropped 3,750. In both cases, the declines exceeded the mid-June to mid-July declines.

The number of continued claims – a rough surrogate for hiring – grew 24,000 and the four-week moving average of continued claims was virtually unchanged, up 500, from mid-July to mid-August pointing to a less than spectacular change in the number of new jobs for August, ADP notwithstanding.

You can hear Mark Lieberman tomorrow, Friday September 6, at 8:45 a.m. EDT on POTUS’ Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can also hear him other Fridays at 6:20 am EDT on POTUS’ Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

Pending Home Sales Index Falls Despite Lower Mortgage Rates

Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • National Association of Realtors’ May Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) FELL 2.5 percent in July to 105.6;
  • Year-year the index FELL 0.5 percent.

Trends:

  • Following one-month respite, the PHSI fell year-year for the 18th time in the last 19 months’;
  • The Index for July essentially gave back virtually the entire June gain

Data Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)

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Despite – or perhaps because of – continuing low mortgage rates, the National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index fell in July essentially back to where it was in May.

The decline was reported as Freddie Mac said the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose ever so slightly to 3.58 percent from 3.55 percent one week earlier.

The dip in pending existing home sales mirrored the decline in new home sales (contracts) as reported last week by the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

According to the Census-HUD data, new home sales plunged 12.8 percent in July as the median price of a new home rose 2.2 percent or $6,800 to $312,800.

The lower mortgage rates have given home-sellers a bit of leeway to raise the asking price of an existing home, A year ago, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.52 percent.

Sales of existing single-family homes have struggled this year although the sales pace (closings) improved in July. For the first seven months this year, the annualized sales pace averaged 5,271,000, down 3.2 percent from 5,443,000 a year ago. The median price of an existing home rose 4.3 percent in the last year to $280,800.

Earlier this week, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case Shiller-CoreLogic Home Price Index, home prices rose 0.58 percent in June (the most recent survey month) and were up 3.1 percent year over year. According to both measures, however the rate of increase in home prices in slowing.

The housing market has shown weakness for the second straight year against slow rising earnings according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, a separate Census-HUD report continues to show a slowdown in construction of new single-family homes which multi-family construction has increased.

The weaker home sales market has had broader implications. In addition to a slowdown at related retail stores, the sales slump affected seniors who were counting on proceeds from the sale of their homes to fund retirement.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on POTUS Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.