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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 3:00 pm | Fair 71º


Craig Greene: October Home Sales Up 10.1% Nationally

Tax incentive for first-time homebuyers credited for increase

Existing home sales rose 10.1 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.1 million units from 5.54 million units in September. The increase was largely due to the tax incentive for first-time homebuyers. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell 3.7 percent to 3.57 million, a seven-month supply at the current sales pace, and the lowest level since February 2007.

The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the third quarter of 2009, rather than the 3.5 percent increase initially reported last month.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index rose 0.27 percent in September. It was the fourth consecutive monthly gain and follows a 1.13 percent increase in August.

The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index rose to 49.5 in November from a revised 48.7 in October. Economists had expected a reading of 47.3. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.

The Commerce Department reported new home sales rose 6.2 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 430,000 from an upwardly revised rate of 405,000 in September. It was the highest level since September 2008. Economists had expected a pace of 410,000.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — fell 0.6 percent in October after a revised 2 percent gain in September. The drop was largely due to an 18.4 percent decrease in orders for defense-related goods.

The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose 0.7 percent in October, higher than economists had anticipated. Personal income increased 0.2 percent.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 35,000 to 466,000 in the week ending Nov. 21. Continuing claims for the week ending Nov. 14 fell by 190,000 to 5.42 million, the lowest level since the week ending Feb. 28.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending and pending home sales, on Tuesday, and factory orders, on Friday.

— Craig Greene is a senior loan officer at Prospect Mortgage, 3916 State St., Suite 100, Santa Barbara 93105. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.898.4211.

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