News headlines everywhere are reporting that Osama bin Laden has been killed by US military forces, but this event has produced little real impact on the stock and bond markets.
Housing data dominated the headlines last week and was generally positive, however, very far from good. New Home Sales in March jumped 11.1% to 300,000 units, but are down 22% from one year ago. Units sold were just above the historic low of 270,000 and well below a “normal” level of approximately 700,000. There were 183,000 new houses on the market at the end of March, the fewest since 1967, indicating reduced construction activity. Pending Sales of Existing Homes for March came in much stronger than expected, up 5.1% from the month prior, but down 11.5% from one year ago. Three of four regions saw increases from the prior month, including gains of 10.3% in the South, 3.1% in the West and 3% in the Midwest. Pending purchases dropped 3.2% in the Northeast. The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index declined 3.3% in February from a year ago. Ten of the 20 cities recorded new lows, and only Washington DC reported appreciation of 2.7% during the past 12-month period. In San Luis Obispo County, sales of all homes including new and existing homes and condos increased 11.2% year-over-year in March. March sales increased 41.3% over February, with 277 homes sold compared with 196 homes in February. The median sales price in the county declined to $345,000 from $365,000 on year ago.
Currently, the 30 Year Fixed is 4.250% (4.406% APR) and the 15 Year Fixed is 3.625% (3.935% APR). The economic news early in the week will include Personal Income and Consumption, Construction Spending, and manufacturing data. Later this week we will see the monthly employment data, including ADP private payrolls, Jobless Claims, and the headline-grabbing Unemployment Rate.