Investors saw quite a bit of volatility in the markets last week, there were also several economic reports to digest. Housing starts jumped 7 percent in March, to its highest level since 2008, driven by multifamily home construction. However, building permits declined nearly 4 percent. Consumer prices dipped slightly in March. The first decline in four months. As gas prices tumbled and new claims for jobless benefits rose by 4,000 to 352,000, signaling a slowly recovering labor market. In the week ahead we expect data on GDP and housing.
We’ll gain insight on the economy with the first estimate of first quarter GDP, which looks at all the goods and services produced from January through March. The final fourth quarter report showed the economy expanded by .4 percent, as export sales and business inventories grew.
We’ll get two key reads on housing. Starting with the existing home sales report for March. In February resales increased .8 percent, to its highest level in more than three years and the median sales price rose nearly 2 percent to $173,600.
We’ll also get the March new home sales report. In February sales fell 4.6% reversing gains from the previous month. However, the number of homes listed reached their highest level since November 2011, a positive sign for the housing market.