Sales of existing homes rose in April for the first time this year, marking the second increase in nine months, with a 1.3% rise to an annual pace of 4.65 million units. As the weather warmed, more properties were put on the market (the inventory of previously-owned homes reached the highest in almost two years). Meanwhile, price increases slowed.
And in other good news, sales of new homes rose 6.4% to an annual pace of 433,000 units, the largest increase in six months. The stock of new homes on the market hit a 3 and ½ year high at 192,000 units.
US manufacturing rose to a three-month high in May, according to the Markit flash purchasing managers index, which increased to a reading of 56.2. While new orders and employment expanded at a slower pace than April, output and backlogs saw accelerated growth.
The Fed released the minutes of the last FOMC meeting, which showed that the committee considered “several approaches” for an eventual exit from easing. The Fed noted that there will not be a rate hike too soon, stating that the benchmark rate is likely to stay low for a “considerable time” after its bond buying program ends. The committee discussed the need to improve guidance on the path of interest rates, saying it is important to “communicate still more clearly about the Fed’s policy intentions as the time of the first increase in the fed funds rate moves closer”.